Bernie Ibini scored in his first game in nearly 18 months as Sydney FC advanced to the FFA Cup final, killing off Canberra Olympic's dream run with a hard-fought 3-0 win.
Semi-professional outfit Olympic made the Sky Blues work every step of the way at Viking Park on Wednesday night in a bid to become the first second-tier club to make the tournament decider.
In the end they were undone by a Seb Ryall header, a cracking Milos Dimitrijevic free-kick and Ibini's strike, only spared a fourth goal thanks to Alex Brosque's wayward header.
Olympic stood by coach Frank Cachia's vow that they would not park the bus against the A-League giants, producing a brave semi-final performance that was unfortunate not to yield a goal.
Their well-organised back four pressed high and stood firm in the face of Sydney's methodical attack.
At the other end the part-timers made promising entries into their visitors' penalty area, Philippe Bernabo-Madrid missing a gilt-edged chance off a cross from one-time Sky Blues player Robbie Cattanach.
But Sydney soon took control of possession and Rhyan Grant orchestrated the first-half opener, clipping a cross off a corner for Ryall to head home - Olympic's first goal conceded in the elimination stage of the tournament.
The Sky Blues would have doubled the lead soon thereafter had Olympic's captain and goalkeeper Angelo Konstantinou not denied Bobo one on one for a second time.
But the biggest missed opportunity was on Brosque.
In his first start for more than 10 months he had only an open goal to contend with after Dimitrijevic chipped the ball over an onrushing Kostantinou, but somehow skewed his header into the post.
Olympic returned with fire in the second half, the previously quiet Jeremy Habtemariam causing all kinds of trouble down the right flanks and talented young midfielder Daniel Colbertaldo slicing a 20-yard volley just wide.
But they were soon punished after Phil Yarnold handballed, Dimitrijevic curling in a brilliant free-kick for a lead that would extend to three goals once Ibini entered the fray.
The right winger, recovered from a badly broken leg, came on in the 82nd minute to play his first competitive match since the 2014-15 A-League grand final.
He made it count, picked out perfectly by Matt Simon's cross and coverting at the back post.
Sydney will play either Melbourne City or Melbourne Victory in the final, with the two facing off in the other semi-final next week.
"To top it off with a goal, it's definitely been a great night," Ibini said.
"Simo put a great ball across. I saw him running and I had to run as well because I knew Arnie would probably lose it at me if I didn't get to the back post."
Brosque had been expecting a strong display from Olympic.
"They hadn't conceded a goal in the whole tournament for a reason," he said.
"They were structurally very good and hard to break down, and we just had to keep the ball moving and wait for opportunities.
"It's been quite a long time since the club won a trophy so this gives us a good chance."
Konstantinou praised Olympic's their brave performance in front of 5581 fans.
"We can hold our heads up high even though it was 3-0," he said.
"They beat two A-League teams 4-0 and they only beat us 3-0.
"It just came down to some quality finishing in the end."