William Wilson 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 last-16 clash.
Knights snatched the advantage at Gold Coast Croatia Sports Centre when Cai Tipaldo headed home in the 28th minute on Thursday.
But Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio equalised eight minutes into the second half as the cup clash went to extra-time.
Six minutes into the added period, Wilson smashed home a stylish winner to seal Victory’s quarter-final berth, away to rivals 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 with 22 minutes remaining.
Fellow ex-Australia international Mitch Nichols, who had a stint at Victory, captained the Knights, while former 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 throughball 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 could not quite connect in time to tap home.
And six minutes into extra-time, a free-kick bounced around the Knights’ defensive 18-yard box before Zaydan Bello cut the ball back to Wilson, who unleashed an unstoppable shot off the outside of his boot into the top corner.
Margiotta wasted 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.