Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat should have been celebrating winning through to the FFA Cup semi-finals and the confident debut of new signing Oliver Bozanic, but instead was left lamenting a potentially career-ending injury to veteran star forward Archie Thompson.
The 36-year-old Thompson, who has been capped 54 times by the Socceroos, was recently granted a one-year contract extension but now faces an anxious wait for the results of scans on what appears a serious knee injury.
The Victory impressed on home turf at AAMI Park on Tuesday night when eliminating holders Adelaide 3-1 thanks to first-half goals from Gui Finkler and Kosta Barbarouses, complemented by a late Besart Berisha penalty won by Thompson.
But despite the strong first-half showing, Muscat cut a forlorn figure at full time with substitute Thompson exiting on a stretcher in the dying minutes, having undergone on-field testing for a torn knee ligament from club medical staff.
"It is too early to tell but he is in obvious discomfort and pain, and we will wait and see in the next couple of days," Muscat said.
"It is just disappointing the way it (the match) has ended."
Thompson was felled by an awkward Michael Marrone challenge, and while no obvious blame could be laid at the feet of the Adelaide defender, Muscat took issue with the refereeing of Peter Green, suggesting there should have been at least one red card for Adelaide.
"He (the referee) should have been a lot less busy if early incidents had have been dealt with," said Muscat.
"There was a reckless challenge on Fahid (Ben Khalfallah) when he has only the goalkeeper to beat. If you take action there, then there is maybe not so many reckless challenges afterwards.
"It took Archie with his smarts and his freshness to make some good runs, and he ends up getting a penalty. You don't want a goalkeeper sent off, but last time I looked that is a goalscoring opportunity (red card)."
Muscat, however, expressed delight at the debut of midfielder Bozanic, who has been brought to the club as a replacement for fellow Socceroo Mark Milligan.
"I thought he was very good for us tonight," Muscat said of Bozanic.
"We will still see a lot more from him."
The second match of the evening saw Hume City secure a 3-2 comeback in extra time against fellow Melbourne-based semi-professional outfit Oakleigh Cannons.
The line-up for the final four will be completed next week when Heidelberg United host Melbourne City, and Perth Glory face Western Sydney Wanderers.