Youngster William Wilson has proved Melbourne Victory’s unlikely hero, scoring the winner as the A-League Men club overcame a scare from Gold Coast Knights to prevail 2-1 in extra-time of their FFA Cup round of 16 clash.
Knights snatched the advantage at Gold Coast Croatia Sports Centre when Cai Tipaldo headed home in the 28th minute.
But Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio equalised in the 53rd minute leading to the game going to extra-time.
Six minutes into the added period Wilson smashed home a stylish winner to seal Victory’s quarter-final berth, away to Adelaide United at Cooper’s Stadium on January 5.
Former Socceroos forward Scott McDonald coached the Knights and named himself on the bench, and to the delight of the 2,417 fans, substituted himself into the match in the 68th minute.
Fellow ex-Socceroo Mitch Nichols, who had a stint at Victory, captained the Knights while ex-Victory winger Jai Ingham also started.
While Victory were far from full strength, the likes of Leigh Broxham and Robbie Kruse started against the out-of-season Knights.
Tipaldo made his mark when Ingham whipped in a corner and the 22-year-old climbed highest to nod the ball past Jerrad Tyson.
Eight minutes into the second half, Nishan Velupillay slipped a beautiful through-ball into the path of Lawrie-Lattanzio, who took a touch then coolly finished.
Victory spurned a golden opportunity in the 80th minute when Francesco Margiotta scuffed a shot, while 10 minutes later, Gold Coast’s Mirza Muratovic showed some fancy footwork and attempted to tee up Jaiden Walker, who couldn’t quite connect in time to tap home.
Six minutes into extra-time, a free kick bounced around the Knights’ defensive 18-yard box before Zaydan Bello cut the back back to Wilson, who leathered an unstoppable shot off the outside of his boot into the top corner.
Margiotta spurned a chance in the 114th minute while Velupillay inexplicably missed from close range in the final minute, but Victory batted away a Knights goalmouth scramble at the death to prevail.
Meanwhile, Melbourne City’s rescheduled quarter-final against Wellington Phoenix will also be played on January 5, at Kingston Heath.