LIVERPOOL, February 16 – Australia star Tim Cahill dedicated his crucial FA Cup goal against Aston Villa to the victims of the bushfires that have devastated parts of his homeland.
Sydney-born Cahill, 29, booked Everton’s place in the quarter-finals for the first time in seven years when he scored the third goal of his side’s 3-1 win at Goodison Park on Sunday.
The Socceroos midfielder celebrated his strike by pointing to the black armband he was wearing as a mark of respect to those who have been affected by the bushfires.
Over 180 Australians have died as fires swept across the south-east of the country over the last week.
"I dedicated the goal to the people who have lost their lives in Australia in the bush fires," he said.
"It has affected all the Australian national team and puts everything into perspective. I’m just really happy I can put something back."
Cahill believes Everton’s win over one of the Premier League in-form teams can be the springboard for the club’s first FA Cup triumph since 1995.
"This is a massive a win for us. This is what we play for," he said. "People say finishing inside the top four is a big task but this cup is amazing and we want to achieve something special."
Cahill’s team-mate Mikel Arteta, who scored Everton’s second goal from the penalty spot, insisted the win was tribute to the Toffees’ determination.
"We were struggling to put our first XI out with all the injuries and the suspensions but the spirit was incredible," he said.
"We stepped up another gear and we are through. It is a massive game after the Liverpool win (in the previous round) but now we want to keep going.
"This is the only way we can win a trophy with Everton and we have a chance if we can keep on playing like we have for the last few months."