Victory ruin Jets fairy tale to win record fourth championship


Kosta Barbarouses scored the quickest ever goal in grand final history to seal Melbourne Victory the A-League title with a 1-0 win, becoming the first team to win the grand final four times.

There was no fairytale finish for Newcastle Jets to cap off their stunning rise after last season's wooden spoon.

Their attack never really clicked into gear in the face of a resolute defensive display from the visitors.

Kosta Barbarouses broke the hosts hearts early, after a scramble for the ball off a Leroy George free kick from just inside Jets half.

Victory defended superbly in the second half and into injury time before Roy O'Donovan was given a straight red card after a violent collision with Lawrence Thomas in the dying stages - a horrible end to the first grand final of any major code to be played in a regional town.

The Jets rode the wave of support from the 29,410 crammed into McDonald Jones Stadium in their bid to become the first Australian side in any sporting code to go from wooden spooners to champions in the following season.

While they dominiated the first period, Jets went behind early when Barbarouses scored in the ninth minute in controversial manner.

Replays suggested James Donachie, who initially controlled the free kick, should have been ruled offside with the goal allowed despite being checked by the VAR.

Donachie rose to nod George's speculative ball across the box, before New Zealand international Barbarouses tapped it into the back of the net off the leg of Jets John Koutroumbis past Glen Moss.

The VAR for the match, Craig Zetter, saw no problem with it, despite the Victory defender being one of a number of players appearing offside.

Both sides had a number of chances after the opener, with man of the match Lawrence Thomas forcing a brilliant save off a Riley McGree shot, with the ball rebounded to Jason Hoffman who somehow missed from less than five yards out, sending the ball over the top of the net in the 31st minute.

Victory tightened their control of the game in the second half, with steadfast defending suppressing any hope of a Jets comeback as James Troisi and Terry Antonis began to assert themselves.

Newcastle did have a small number of chances, with O'Donovan and Ronald Vargas probing, but Thomas was a brick wall in goal while Victory's staunch defence led by Donachie and Thomas Deng shut the home side down.

Their desperation to find an equaliser eventually got the better of O'Donovan, who was given a straight red card in the third minute of injury time.

The Irishman attempted to connect on a Dimi Petratos free kick, instead connecting with Thomas as O'Donovan rammed his studs into the face of the boot landed directly to the face of the Joe Marston Medallist, who played the remainder of the match with his face heavily strapped.

Source SBS