Sport High five: Sydney FC crowned A-League champs after beating Melbourne City 1-0 in grand final
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High five: Sydney FC crowned A-League champs after beating Melbourne City 1-0 in grand final

Rhyan Grant enjoys his extra-time goal that handed Sydney FC the grand final win. Photo: AAP
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Sydney FC has claimed a historic fifth A-League championship after beating Melbourne City 1-0 in extra time in a dramatic grand final on Sunday night.

After neither side was able to score in regular time at Western Sydney’s Bankwest Stadium, Rhyan Grant broke the deadlock in the 10th minute of the opening period of extra time.

Sky Blues right back Grant, who was awarded the Joe Marston Medal as player of the match, shouldered home Luke Brattan’s perfectly weighted cross to deny City a maiden A-League title.

The Sky Blues are the first club to win five A-League championships and the second to win back-to-back grand finals.

 

The first half was marked by two controversial decisions, with City’s Harrison Delbridge’s 18th-minute goal ruled out following a VAR review and Sydney’s Adam Le Fondre denied a penalty in the 28th minute.

City flew out of the blocks and Delbridge looked to have handed them the lead.

Craig Noone’s skidding ball through the 18-yard box spilled out to Delbridge, whose powerful strike took a deflection and beat Andrew Redmayne.

But a VAR review found winger Lachlan Wales, standing in an offside position, had obstructed the view of Sky Blues goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne.

In the aftermath, Sydney found a foothold in the game and almost had a golden opportunity to open the scoring.

Le Fondre went to ground under heavy contact from Curtis Good in the 28th minute and screamed for a penalty but his pleas went unheard.

The second half was largely an exhibition of superb goalkeeping from City’s Tom Glover and Sydney’s Redmayne.

Glover’s excellent reflex save denied Milos Ninkovic in the 62nd minute, while in the 77th minute, Redmayne blocked City substitute Scott Galloway’s dipping shot.

In the 89th minute Glover, who was superb all night, ensured the game went beyond regular time.

Le Fondre sent a cross in towards a diving Trent Buhagiar, with Glover able to scramble the ball to safety.

But Sydney would not be denied.

“You got to be in the right place at the right time, but you make your own luck sometimes,” Grant said.

With just eight previous goals in a 12-year career at Sydney FC, Grant was an unlikely scorer of the most decisive goal of the season.

Yet, remarkably, it was Grant’s second grand final goal, having also netted in the 1-1 draw against Melbourne Victory three years ago, a match won by the Sky Blues on penalties.

The goal had added resonance, shoring up Sydney FC’s fifth championship, a new mark for any Australian club since the former National Soccer League began in 1977.

“I said to Bimbi (coach Steve Corica) before the match I might score but I was just having a joke, but in the back of my mind I thought I was a chance,” Grant said.

“I thought tonight I might get a bit lucky and it fell that way.

“I’m over the moon to score, but even more happy to help the club win another trophy.”

City had some late sights on goal, but Redmayne stood tall to preserve his clean sheet and secure Sydney the premiership-championship double.

It was Melbourne City’s maiden grand final.

-with AAP