Melbourne City has broken through for its first A-League championship, coming from behind to beat a 10-man Sydney FC 3-1 in the grand final.
- The win clinched the premiership-championship double for Melbourne City
- Nathaniel Atkinson, Scott Jameison and Scott Galloway scored City’s goals
- Sydney FC’s Luke Brattan was shown a red card in the first half
Sydney FC’s Kosta Barbarouses opened the scoring in the 21st minute, with the brilliant Nathaniel Atkinson responding two minutes later, before Luke Brattan’s 35th-minute red card turned the game in City’s favour at AAMI Park.
Captain Scott Jamieson put City ahead from the penalty spot late in the first half, while Scott Galloway slammed home a long-range belter in injury time to seal a premiership-championship double in Patrick Kisnorbo’s first season as coach.
City were without Socceroos Jamie Maclaren, Curtis Good and Connor Metcalfe, while Sydney FC missed internationals Rhyan Grant, Andrew Redmayne and Ryan McGowan.
Atkinson proved the star of the show, with the 22-year-old claiming the Joe Marston Medal for player of the match after giving the Sydney FC defence headaches throughout from the right wing.
City started off like a house on fire in front of a parochial sellout crowd at 50 per cent capacity.
But Sydney FC struck the first blow when Barbarouses cut inside and unleashed a scintillating right-footed strike from outside the box past Tom Glover for his third grand-final goal.
City hit back almost immediately.
Stefan Colakovski picked up the ball inside his own half, powered down the left wing and danced past Sydney FC’s defence before squaring the ball for Atkinson, who blasted a shot into the roof of the net in the 23rd minute.
Three minutes later, Berenguer sent a bouncing header wide.
Then Brattan, who had been booked for a challenge on Aiden O’Neill in the 25th minute, up-ended Marco Tilio with a sliding tackle and received a second yellow card, with his send-off handing his former club City the upper hand.
It was the 31-year-old’s first red card of his career.
Eleven minutes later, City made its numbers advantage count, when Sydney FC’s Anthony Caceres clattered into Adrian Luna’s back just inside the area.
Referee Chris Beath had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot, with Jamieson coolly slamming the spot-kick past Tom Heward-Belle just before half-time and pointing to his captain’s armband in celebration.
Colakovski spurned a golden chance to make it 3-1 in the 61st minute when he volleyed straight at Heward-Belle.
Sydney FC called on Johnny Warren medallist Milos Ninkovic, who missed their semi-final with a calf strain, in the 72nd minute.
But the visitors were unable to find an equaliser and AAMI Park erupted when Galloway charged forward in the 93rd minute and unleashed a brilliant left-footed strike to seal the deal.
Sydney FC was seeking a record third straight championship crown but City’s win avenged its loss in last year’s grand final.