APIA Leichhardt Tigers’ penalty hero Tynan Diaz is eagerly anticipating Wednesday night’s clash against his former club the Wollongong Wolves, with a Grand Final spot at stake.
The 33-year-old converted the decisive penalty to seal a 5-3 shootout triumph over Blacktown City FC on Saturday night, moments after a dramatic Joey Gibbs equaliser beyond the 120th minute had ensured the match would be decided on spot kicks.
“We were pushed all the way to the end and unfortunately conceded a really late goal,” Diaz recalled.
“Within the players who took the penalties there was no panic, and I think that showed with their execution.
“That gave me a lot of confidence.”
John Calleja’s outfit are now one match away from the NPL NSW Grand Final at Bankwest Stadium on the 31st August, as they prepare to take on runaway Premiers the Wollongong Wolves at WIN Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Major Semi-Final is of added significance to Diaz, who grew up in ‘the Gong’ and has previously represented the Wolves, notably being a member of their last side to taste Grand Final success eleven years ago.
However the attacker assured all loyalties and friendships will be cast aside once he crosses the white line this week.
“I’ve got some really good friends that play in the team,” Diaz revealed.
“In particular Justin Pasfield and Christopher Price; we won the grand final together back in 2008.
“It’s great to see that group of players still playing in a top team and succeeding.
“But come Wednesday, there’s no friends- we’re going down there to win and nothing else.
“They’ve taught us a few lessons this year, so we’ve got a point to prove and we’ll go in as heavy underdogs.
“There’s absolutely a lot to play for and to prove for the players and the club.”
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Reporter Chris Curulli (Twitter handle @ChrisCurulli)