- Associated Press - Sunday, May 7, 2017

SYDNEY (AP) - Sydney FC capped an outstanding season with an A-League grand final win Sunday over the Melbourne Victory, winning 4-2 on penalties after the teams played through extra time level 1-1.

Melbourne took the lead through a Besart Berisha strike in the 20th minute, but Sydney’s Rhyan Grant equalized with a 69th minute tap-in before a sellout crowd of 41,500 at Sydney Football Stadium.

Victory captain Carl Valeri and Marcos Rojas missed penalties in the shootout before former Serbia international Milos Ninkovic clinched the title for Sydney.

Sydney FC goalkeeper Danny Vukovic saved Rojas’ attempt.

“The penalty shootout was a blur, it went so quickly, can’t believe we’ve won it. It’s an amazing feeling,” Vukovic said.

Vukovic had lost his three previous A-League grand finals.

“Pure elation. I don’t know what I would have done if I lost a fourth,” Vukovic said.

Ninkovic was awarded the most valuable player of the match award. Sydney joins the Victory and Brisbane as three-time A-League champions.

Sydney FC broke records on the way to winning the Premiers’ Plate - 66 points from 27 games, a record points tally. It also broke the record for biggest margin between first and second, sitting 17 points ahead of the second-place Victory.

“It’s not the greatest way to win or lose,” Sydney coach Graham Arnold said of the shootout. “(But) I wanted it so badly for the players, for all they have done this year.”

Melbourne coach Kevin Muscat said his team didn’t deserve to lose on the balance of play.

“I suppose that’s life. And that’s football,” Muscat said. “But it’s gut-wrenching trying to find the words now to explain to the players how they have lost.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide