FFA Cup: Floreat Athena coach Vas Vujacic full of praise after herculean effort against Adelaide United

Ben SmithThe West Australian
Mohhamed Toure of Adelaide United in action.
Camera IconMohhamed Toure of Adelaide United in action. Credit: Will Russell/Getty Images

Floreat Athena coach Vas Vujacic said he is proud of his side after the NPL team valiantly pushed Adelaide United to extra time in their FFA Cup loss.

While Floreat eventually lost 3-1, they threatened to cause a cup upset when Chris Saladaris’ fine finish cancelled out Louis D’Arrigo’s opener.

Despite a George Blackwood penalty and a Yaya Dukuly strike sealing the A-League side’s passage through to the Round of 16 in extra time, Vujacic said he was pleased his team were able to match it with Adelaide for large periods of the game.

“We stuck to the gameplan, were very disciplined and made it hard for them. They obviously scored with a lapse of concentration, but in the second half we came back,” he said.

“I thought they came at us bit harder in the second half. We still had to stay disciplined and keep our shape.

“They’ve got quality players so they can expose you, like (Ben) Halloran’s run for the penalty. A couple of small lapses and they can take advantage.”

Saladaris’ well-taken equaliser had given Floreat a glimmer of hope while Sean McManus caused issues for Adelaide’s defence all day, and Vujacic had praise for both of them.

“(Saladaris) has been great. It was a great goal, great finish. His effort and application is unbelievable, he’s a good member of the team and he’s a real leader in the group,” he said.

“McManus’ work rate and speed is a big asset for him. He needs to work on some parts of his game to take that next level, but he’s a great contributor.

“I thought he made them very uncomfortable and he got in behind a couple of times, which is good to see from boys at our level; it’s a good challenge for them.”

Adelaide United coach Carl Veart also praised Floreat and with this game being his side’s first match of the season, he was happy they were able to out-run an Athena team coming to the end of theirs.

“We knew even though we haven’t had any games yet, Floreat would physically run out of legs because they’ve had a long season,” he said.

“We came into the game underdone and we knew that. But full credit to our boys, they stuck to it in difficult conditions against a good side.

“Isaias was only meant to play 30 minutes. All credit to him to get through the whole game. He said to me afterwards ‘I thought I was only meant to play 30-45 minutes’ and I said ‘you did, just three lots of them.’”

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