Sydney FC Are Champions

Sydney FC have won their second Hyundai A-League Championship after defeating Melbourne Victory 4-2 in penalties after the game finished 1-1 in extra time at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium.

Sydney FC have won their second Hyundai A-League Championship after defeating Melbourne Victory 4-2 in penalties after the game finished 1-1 in extra time at Melbourne-s Etihad Stadium.

In a tense arm wrestle of a match Sydney FC were crowned champions, the first team to win a Grand Final away from home in front of 44 560 football fans.

Defender Simon Colosimo was named best on ground, winning the Joe Marston medal and goal keeper Clint Bolton made a vital save in the penalty box to give Sydney FC the victory.

Sydney-s goal occurred in a rollercoaster minute for fans of both clubs as Sydney took the lead in the 63rd minute as Mark Bridge scored after Melbourne had a goal correctly ruled out offside.

Sydney-s elation was short lived as Melbourne levelled the game in the 79th after Adrian Leijer headed the ball past Clint Bolton, and sending the game into extra time.

Captain Terry McFlynn, who was in the Sky Blues inaugural Championship winning team, was delighted to have claimed the double over rivals Melbourne.

“It-s a fantastic feeling amongst all the boys,” McFlynn said. “I think it showed we are the best two teams in the competition.

“After 120 minutes we couldn-t be separated and it-s come down to the dreaded penalty shootout. Someone had to win and fortunately it was us.”In his first year as the Sky Blues coach, Vitezslav Lavicka has guided the Sky Blues to both the Hyundai A-League Premiership and now the Championship.

“I would like to say thankyou for everyone. “ Lavicka said after the match

“(Thankyou) To all the players and all the staff.”

Australian football fans may have had to wait five seasons for the dream grand final between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory but after a nail biting 120 minutes the wait was worth it.

The first half was an even affair with neither team willing to risk conceding an early goal.

The Sky Blues threatened the Victory-s goal four times to Melbourne-s three and both teams successfully defended two corners.

Alex Brosque had the first chance of the game in the eighth minute when Mark Bridge slotted the ball to the left of the box, Brosque shot with his first touch but the ball went wide of the right goal post.

Melbourne was dealt a significant early blow when the Victory-s key striker Archie Thompson injured his left knee in the 15th minute and was replaced by Costa Rican Marvin Angulo.

Sydney-s defence was tested in the 20th minute when the Victory were awarded a free kick just outside of the goal box but Carlos Hernandez-s shot went wide of the goals and into the crowd.

Christopher Payne had Sydney-s best chance late in the first half when Karol Kisel passed long from half way and found Payne in front of goal but Victory keeper Mitchell Langerak was able to push the ball wide of the goal and foil the Sydney counter attack.

The Victory responded with their own counter and also their best chance of the half when Surat Sukha hit a loose ball powerfully towards goal but fortunately for Sydney the ball went just over the bar and the first half finished goalless.

Mark Bridge opened the second half with a strongly hit shot but the ball went straight to the keeper.

Melbourne had their own chance in the 53rd minute when Nicky Ward also hit a loose ball but fortunately for the Sky Blues the ball went straight to keeper Clint Bolton. The game changed inside sixty seconds after Melbourne Victory thought they had taken the lead when a Victory attempt was blocked by Bolton into the path of Roddy Vargas.

Vargas kicked the ball into the back of the net and Etihad stadium erupted into a sea of jubilation but it was short lived as Vargas was correctly ruled offside.

Sydney sent the ball forward and Alex Brosque quickly lobbed a ball into the Melbourne box, the ball deflected off a Victory player straight into the path of Mark Bridge who calmly headed the ball into the net.

The tempo of the game lifted and Vitezslav Lavicka sensed that one goal would be enough.

Defender Shannon Cole was brought on for Christopher Payne and the Sky Blues played a defensive four five one formation.

It was not long for Sydney-s defence to be tested. In the 79th minute Carlos Hernandez hit a free kick from one metre outside the Sydney goal square but the ball travelled low and wide missing both the Melbourne attack and Sydney defence.

Melbourne had a second free kick within a minute and this time they made Sydney pay, again Sydney were undone by a set piece.

Kevin Muscat quickly hit the ball into the Sky Blues goal square and defender Adrian Leijer headed the ball past Clint Bolton.

With ten minutes to go and the scores level, the game looked set to go into extra time, Sydney had to weather the storm.

Adrian Leijer had a chance to double his tally when a Leigh Broxham corner was hit over the bar by the Victory defender and the Victory had another chance from a corner in the 87th minute but this time the header was saved by Bolton. The Sky Blues survived an intense ten minutes of attack from Melbourne but defender Stephan Keller had a chance to give Sydney the Championship after a Brosque cross found Keller open.

Keller-s first touch let him down and the ball was sent into the crowd and the game into extra time.

The first period of extra time was a mirror image of the first half as again neither team was willing to risk going behind.

Neither team created any significant chances and the scores were level heading into the second period of extra time.

The first scoring chance fell Sydney-s way after Adrian Leijer brought down Terry McFlynn just outside the square and the Sky Blues had a free kick in a dangerous position.

Karol Kisel dummied the shot and passed to Bridge who was straight on goal.

Bridge passed two defenders but the shot was punched clear by Langerak.

Melbourne Victory had their chance with five minutes to go after Kisel fouled Marvin Angulo 25 metres from goal.

Carlos Hernandez hit the free superbly but Bolton was up to the challenge and collected the ball for Sydney.

Sydney had one final chance after A-League debutant Joe Gibbs was brought down by Kevin Muscat 30 meters out from goal but Shannon Cole again hit the ball straight to Langerak.

Hernandez had one final run on goal for the Victory but he fell over at the final hurdle and the game went to penalties, the score remaining 1-1.

Match Detail

Melbourne Victory FC: 1 (LEIJER 79-)
Sydney FC: 1 (BRIDGE 63-)

Melbourne Victory Line-up: 1. Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 2. Kevin MUSCAT (c), 5. Surat SUKHA (19. Evan BERGER 71-), 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 8. Grant BREBNER, 10. Archie THOMPSON (11. Marvin ANGULO 15-), 12. Rodrigo VARGAS, 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ, 21. Robbie KRUSE, 22. Nick WARD (25. Aziz BEHICH 76-), 23. Adrian LEIJER

Substitutes Not Used: 17. Matthew FOSCHINI, 20. Glen MOSS (gk).

Yellow Cards: 2. Kevin MUSCAT 62-, 19. Evan BERGER 101-
Red Cards: Nil.
Goals: 23. Adrian LEIJER 79-.

Sydney FC Line-up: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3. Stephan KELLER, 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 6. Karol KISEL, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK (5. Hayden FOXE 105-), 14. Alex BROSQUE (31. Joe GIBBS 116-), 15. Terry MCFLYNN (c), 16. Christopher PAYNE (12. Shannon COLE 75-), 19. Mark BRIDGE, 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN.

Substitutes Not Used: 7. Brendan GAN, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk).

Yellow Cards: 2. Sebastian RYALL 26-, 19. Mark BRIDGE 31-, 4. Simon COLOSIMO 50-, 6. Karol KISEL 84-.
Red Cards: Nil.
Goals: 19. Mark BRIDGE 63-.

Referee: Srebre DELOVSKI.
Attendance: 44 560 at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne