Aaron Mooy’s dream of joining the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United in the English Premier League has come true after Huddersfield Town secured promotion in a nail-biting penalty shootout at Wembley on Tuesday morning (AEST).
Huddersfield, appropriately known as the ‘Terriers’, edged Reading FC 4-3 on penalties – after a goalless draw – in a dramatic Championship playoff final in front 76,682 people to end a 45-year absence from England’s top flight.
Huddersfield will now play in the Premier League for the first time in their history after winning the match known as the ‘richest game in football’, which comes with a Stg170 million ($293.4 million) windfall.
Mooy, making his 51st appearance of the season, nailed his penalty in between two Danny Ward saves to send Huddersfield fans wild.
Michael Hefele missed his first penalty but Ward thwarted Liam Kelly and Liam Moore, in between Mooy’s successful kick, to put the Terriers a kick away from promotion, with Christopher Schindler duly obliging.
Now after 10 months in England and a memorable afternoon at Wembley, on-loan Socceroos star Mooy is Premier League-bound.
“I am so happy because when I arrived, people said I had no experience, no experience of British football, no experience of players – I always had to fight against that,” Huddersfield’s German-born manager David Wagner said.
“It’s proved experience is important but not everything. It’s heart and desire.”
Huddersfield have not been involved in the top-flight of English football since 1972.
In that time, they have dipped to the fourth tier, but have played in the Championship for the past five seasons.
Huddersfield have a proud history and were crowned champions of England in 1924, 1925 and 1926.
Wagner’s side started strongly and the Mooy’s cross was headed just wide by Michael Hefele in the fourth minute.
Five minutes later they should have gone 1-0 up when Isaiah Brown missed a glaringly open goal after he was put in by Elias Kachunga’s pass.
The two teams went into extra-time with the score locked at 0-0.
Garath McCleary and Wells both dragged shots wide before the dramatic penalty shootout.
Hefele missed his first but Ward thwarted Liam Kelly and Liam Moore, in between Mooy’s successful penalty, to put the Terriers a kick away from
Mooy played a key role in Huddersfield reaching the play-off final, playing 47 of a possible 48 matches before the Wembley final for the Terriers.
He started 44 of them and added four goals and set up seven others as a central midfielder.
Mooy is highly regarded among Huddersfield fans for his 20-yard winner against rivals Leeds United back in September.
The 26-year-old, who has previously played for St. Mirren, Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne City, moved to Manchester City in July last year.
The English Premier League giants quickly loaned him out to Huddersfield as he sought experience of English football.
Before the final, Mooy told the Herald Sun that it would be the “biggest game of my life”, but that he was remaining calm.
“I’m not freaking out over the game or anything – it’s a game of football,” he said.
“It’s probably the biggest game of my life so I’m just focusing on that, I’m not worried about other stuff.
“I’m just playing like normal, I’m not going to change my mentality.
“It’s been amazing, before I got here we finished 19th, so for us to be at Wembley now – it’s been a massive season for Huddersfield.
“And I’m glad to have been part of it and a win will make it even better.
“I’ve tried not to focus on the game too much, just try and relax and be normal and enjoy the build up. Stay calm.”