And for about 20 minutes in Wednesday night’s FFA Cup clash with Sydney FC the former National Soccer League powerhouse dared to dream of recording the most famous of semi-final upsets after Leigh Minopoulos scored shortly after half time, making it 2-1.
Lakeside Stadium was rocking like it hasn’t rocked since 2004.
Sydney’s defence threatened to rock too, particularly when a cavalier Andrew Redmayne went walkabout and Matthew Millar was inches away from successfully chipping the goalkeeper from halfway.
But then, as torrential rain temporarily washed away the Fox Sports TV feed, Sky Blue striker Bobo also flushed away any chance South had of making the final with his second goal of the night in the 66th minute, making the score 3-1 and the mountain too high to climb.
And when Seb Ryall and Matthew Simon added their names to a scoresheet that also included David Carney’s fourth minute opener, the 5-1 result was locked and loaded and the A-League champions were through to their second consecutive Cup final.
Sydney FC striker Bobo (right) celebrates with teammate Jordy Buiys after he scored against South Melbourne on Wednesday night.Source:AAP
Hellbent on atoning for last year’s defeat to Melbourne City, Sydney will have to wait a fortnight to find out who it will play in next month’s final.
But a blockbuster Sydney derby final is a distinct possibility, with Western Sydney and Adelaide to go head-to-head in the other semi.
The goals were Bobo’s sixth and seventh of a profitable Cup competition for the Brazilian.
The goal it conceded was the first it had copped in four games during a campaign that had also netted easy wins against Darwin Rovers (8-0), Bankstown Berries (3-0) City (2-0).
And it was no less than South deserved, after – in general play at least – it gave as good as it got in the opening 45 minutes.
But as the gap continues to close between A-League clubs and their National Premier League counterparts, the main differences between the two tiers were as clear as day on Wednesday night.
Classy goal keeps South in it 0:39
FFA Cup: Leigh Minopoulos has scored a classy goal to keep South Melbourne in the hunt for a spot in the FFA Cup final.
Every time Sydney went forward, Bobo, Carney, Alex Brosque and Milos Ninkovic looked likely to hit the back of the net.
Little mistakes that South defenders may get away with at league level were severely punished.
And at the other end, legendary NPL striker Milos Lujic and Millar both had two decent chances each to score in the first half but fluffed their lines, much to the frustration of the 5747 crowd.
Luke Pavlou of South Melbourne (left) and Josh Brillante of Sydney FC compete for the ball on Wednesday night.Source:Getty Images
The night was also an A-League audition of sorts for the ambitious South, so keen to get back into the top flight.
Weather notwithstanding, the crowd figure would have been a disappointment to the club, which was hoping for a five-figure crowd.
Now, as the FFA Cup music stops, the bid continues behind the scenes without the added sugar dust this competition has brought.
FFA CUP SEMI-FINAL
SYDNEY FC 5 (Carney 4, Bobo 17, Bobo 66, Ryall 73, Simon 83) SOUTH MELBOURNE 1 (Minopoulos 47) at Lakeside Stadium, Melbourne.