Brosque to start FFA Cup semi
Photo Source: AAP
Canberra Olympic coach Frank Cachia knows it will take a near miracle to beat Sydney FC to the FFA Cup final, but points out his part-timers have already beaten the odds to get this far.
Tournament minnows Olympic will attempt to upset Graham Arnold's A-League giants - and $23 odds - in the first semi-final at Canberra's Viking Park on Wednesday night.
Pull it off and they'll become the first second-tier side to make an FFA Cup final, capping the 60-year-old club's most successful season in which they've already clinched the NPL minor premiership, premiership and Federation Cup.
The entire capital are behind him but it's a dream Cachia has not dared imagine given how far his semi-professional outfit have come.
Like Sydney FC, Olympic are yet to concede a goal.
And while they've been fortunate to avoid A-League opposition until now, he cited their 10-man stoppage-time quarter-final win over Green Gully as proof his team can get results under pressure.
"We've been underdogs for the last two games, if you just looked at the betting market you wouldn't even bother turning up," Cachia told AAP.
"We started this tournament at 250/1 to win it."
Arnold said he's been around long enough to know that's true.
Despite being $1.08 favourites and boasting a squad worth more than 90 times as much as Olympic's, he was wary of the way big clubs can be tripped up by smaller counterparts playing for their lives.
"It's their one-night-only performance and they've got players who want to present their best performance," Arnold said.
"We have to be ready for their energy."
Sydney captain Alex Brosque will make his first start in more than 10 months after scoring off the bench against Western Sydney and Central Coast, while winger Bernie Ibini could finally get some game time as he continues building fitness.
Seb Ryall will replace Alex Wilkinson (ankle) in central defence, with either Riley Woodcock or David Carney to step in at left-back for Michael Zullo (illness).
Olympic have their own stars, most notably goalkeeper-cum-scorer Angelo Konstantinou, who has starred between the posts and scored the winning penalty against Green Gully.
One-time Sydney forward Robbie Cattanach and former Sky Blues youth striker Jordan Tsekenis will also line up for Canberra.
Arnold did not expect Olympic to park the bus, anticipating they'd attempt to keep possession and try to stop the Sky Blues creating chances.
Tim Cahill's Melbourne City will host arch-rivals Melbourne Victory in the other semi-final at AAMI Park next week.