Sydney FC secured a fifth A-League championship after Rhyan Grant’s chested goal in extra-time proved the unlikely match-winner in the grand final against Melbourne City.
Grant, awarded the Joe Marston medal for his man-of-the-match performance, popped up at the back post on the 100-minute mark to guide a sublime Luke Brattan ball past Thomas Glover in the City goal with a clever bit of improvisation.
“It was nice, maybe a little bit lucky with it but I thought I’d put the keeper off with the chest rather than the head and it looked like it worked – so happy days,” Grant told Fox Sports at full-time.
Sydney moved ahead of Melbourne Victory, Sydney City, Marconi Stallions and South Melbourne – all on four national championships – with the victory at Bankwest Stadium and denied City a first.
City thought they had taken the lead in the first half but Harrison Delbridge’s strike was chalked off after VAR adjudged an offside Lachlan Wales to have obstructed Andrew Redmayne’s view.
Sydney also had cause for complaint before the break when Adam Le Fondre went down in the box under a Curtis Good challenge. The striker’s appeals for a penalty were waved away by referee Chris Beath.
The second half was largely an exhibition of superb goalkeeping from City’s Glover and Sydney’s Redmayne. Glover’s excellent reflex save denied Miloš Ninković 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.
In the 100th minute, Brattan received the ball and lofted a delightful ball over the City defence to the back post, where a surging Grant chested the ball past Glover.
While City had some late sights on goal, Redmayne stood tall to preserve his clean sheet and secure Sydney the premiership-championship double.