Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce has refused to blame Bruno Fornaroli's absence for Wednesday's 2-0 FFA Cup quarter-final loss to Sydney FC at Leichhardt Oval.
The FFA Cup holders went down to the A-League premiers, courtesy of goals to Jordy Buijs and Alex Brosque.
City struggled without captain and star striker Fornaroli, who suffered a serious ankle injury in the last cup round.
“[Missing personnel] is no excuse," Joyce said.
"I thought it was a poor goal to give away, a cheap free kick really, so disappointing to go a goal down and you’re up against it.
"It was a night where we didn’t have a lot of artillery where we think we could score three or four goals and we wanted to stay in the game for as long as we could really, so to give a goal away cheaply puts you up against it.”
The City boss lamented his side's inability to challenge A-League title favourites Sydney.
“I didn’t think it was a great game to be honest," Joyce said.
"I didn’t think we made them do a great deal to win it.
"That’s disappointing. You want to come and set a marker down for the league season and I don’t think we did that tonight.”