Pandemonium swept Leichhardt Oval on Tuesday evening as National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s outfit APIA Leichhardt dubbed the “Giantkillers” of the FFA Cup knocked out A-League side Western Sydney Wanderers with 35-year-old Tynan Diaz producing one of the goals of the tournament thus far.
For those that know Diaz well, this isn’t the first time the versatile football star grabbed the headlines for scoring outrageous goals.
In 2012 wearing the Bonnyrigg White Eagles colours, the then 26-year-old scored a stunning volley against Sydney United 58 to earn him the Goal of the Year plaudits at the end of season Football NSW awards.
On Wednesday, August 29th, 2018, at Marconi Stadium and again in White Eagles colours, Diaz produced the spectacular scoring a wonderful free-kick against the Western Sydney Wanderers in the Round of 16 clash – and even though the match ended in the Red and Black’s favour 2-1, it was Tynan’s goal that caught all the attention.
Fast forward to 2021 and he was at it again as he caught Wanderers keeper Daniel Margush napping as his quick thinking from long range saw him score one of the most memorable FFA Cup goals with his strike proving to be the match winner as the lads from the Inner West recorded a famous 2-1 victory over the much-fancied opponents.
“I guess I’m bit of a lucky charm in the big games,” Diaz stated to Football NSW.
“I love playing in these types of games as it brings the best out in me.
“The highlight reels will be great to show my kids one day, it was a really special night and dad has some content to prove it.”
Recollecting his emotions and thoughts that led to the wonder goal, Diaz stated to Football NSW it was an opportunity too go to not go for that spurred the star on.
“There was a foul on Hass Jalloh just near halfway, then James Troisi and I had some words which grabbed the attention of most players on the field. I noticed the keeper near his 18-yard box, and I thought I could catch him out. I signalled for our Centre backs to push forward for a cross into the box, as soon as the keeper took his eyes off me, I took my opportunity
“It was a really special night for the club, the fans, the coaching staff and the playing group.
“We are the only team to beat A-League opposition twice in the FFA Cup, we made history and this club is very proud of its history spanning back to the 1950’s.”
The belief in the squad was bubbling in the inner sanctum of the playing group as coach Danial Cummins and his troops believed that nothing but a victory was on the cards against Carl Robinson’s Wanderers outfit.
It was a herculean effort by an NPL side that had their season cut short due to COVID postponing the season in August.
With only a handful of training sessions amongst long term injuries to Corey Biczo (ACL) and Matthew Cahill (broken leg) that occurred during their grueling 120-minute Round of 32 match against Capital Football’s Tigers FC only four days prior to the Wanderers clash, the 2-1 win over the A-League side will long be remembered as one of the greatest ‘Cupsets’ the FFA Cup has ever seen.
“We didn’t give any airtime or mind space for built in excuses.
“We knew we could win this game with the right plan, discipline, and collective effort.
“We had some really serious injuries from last week which I hope those boys can recover quickly from, we have a squad with real quality and last night we were able to show that again stunning the public and putting APIA on the map yet again.”
At 35 and with a full-time job to boot along with father duties, Diaz was working overtime in ensuring his body along with his mindset was right to go for one of the biggest games of his footballing career.
“Given that its our off-season and the strenuous schedule we have had, I’ve been stepping up my recovery routine to ensure I can maintain peak performance.
“I go to Body WRL at the Cannery in Rosebery that have the best equipment in the world in every room of their facility, this equipment is used by Liverpool FC and Juventus, and I can tell you that this helped my recovery ten-fold.”
So the secret is out, Body WRL in Rosebery will no doubt be the place Diaz and his fellow APIA teammates venture off to when they set their sights on yet another A-League scalp this time in the form of the Central Coast Mariners with a semi-final FFA Cup spot up for grabs.
“The Central Coast Mariners will be difficult, but not impossible and we will approach the game to win and not to just participate.
“Cooma Tigers took us deep into extra time last week, other NPL teams have made it really competitive with A-League opposition so far in this FFA Cup, this proves anything is possible and that’s why football and this Cup is so exciting.”
Spurring Diaz on with extra motivation has been his tight knit family led by his wife Andrea and two children, Oliver, and Bella.
“They are amazing and support me so much.
“My wife gave birth to our second child (Bella) barely two weeks ago.
“Being a father is amazing, I have a very supportive family, a beautiful wife and two wonderful children, life is great.”
Wonderful words from “Daddy” Diaz who hopes to be the centre of attention again in APIA’s Quarter-Final match up against the Mariners.
Nick Montgomery take note, the APIA boys mean business.