Sydney FC crowned champions in one of the greatest A-League finals


It may have been decided by penalties but Sydney FC were crowned A-League champions over Melbourne Victory, defeating their Big Blue rivals 4-2 in the shootout.

The game couldn't be decided after 90 minutes with the scores locked up at 1-1 with goals from Besart Berisha and Rhyan Grant, with an enthralling shootout seeing the Sky Blues' Alex Wilkinson spray his shot wide before Melbourne's Carl Valeri crashed his effort off the crossbar and Marcos Rojas had his effort saved by Danny Vukovic.

The deciding penalty was left to Johnny Warren Medal winner Milos Ninkovic who coolly slotted home from the spot, in front of ecstatic fans and teammates.

Berisha had the home supporters uncomfortable, opening the scoring in the 20th minute with a sublime goal, taking possession from 25 metres out, toying with Wilkinson before converting during an opening half punctuated by physical play.

Milos Ninkovic was taken down by a Leigh Broxham tackle just after the half-hour mark with the Serbian's retaliation escalating into a push and shove involving all players with he, teammate Filip Holosko and Melbourne's James Troisi all receiving yellow cards in the the aftermath.

After the break Sydney were rewarded for a period of sustained pressure when veteran fired a powerful shot that Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas managed to get a glove on only for Grant steamed in for a 69th minute tap-in.

With scores tied, the decider went to extra-time and Melbourne playmaker Troisi was only centimetres away from scoring what would surely have been a winner when his crisp volley in the 107th minute struck the inside of the left-hand post.

Moments later Carney was brought down and tumbled just outside the penalty area as cries for a penalty went unrewarded with the match needing penalties to decide the winner.

Both teams scored their first spot-kicks only for Sydney FC's veteran centre-back Wilkinson to fire wide andgive Victory the advantage.

Kevin Muscat's men then missed two in a row, Valeri crashing his against crossbar before Rojas' strike was saved by a diving Danny Vukovic, allowing Ninkovic to be the hero, converting his brilliant season in style.

Despite being on the losing side Victory full-back Daniel Georgievski has won the Joe Marston Medal for best on ground in the A-League grand final, in his last game for the club.

Source AAP