Sydney FC are the A-League champions after defeating premiers Perth Glory in a tense penalty shootout in front of a record crowd in Perth. The Glory have been the best team all season and claimed the premiership by finishing in first place on the table, but Sydney lifted in the finals when it counted to come away with the win in a scoreless match.
This was Perth’s second consecutive penalty shootout, after finishing 3 all at the end of extra time against Adelaide United in the semi-finals. Sydney, meanwhile, stormed into the big dance with a comprehensive 6-1 win over Melbourne Victory. They also comprehensively outdid Perth in the shootout, scoring 4-1 to win in the first round.
Sydney arguably should have won in regulation time, with a goal disallowed just before the 30 minute mark on a dubious offside call. The linesman raised his flag, and VAR found no reason to overturn the call, but given the TV evidence suggested that Michael Zullo was in fact marginally onside it is likely that if the goal had been scored without a linesman’s call then it would not have been overturned.
Perth finished the regular season well on top of the table, claiming 60 points to sit two wins clear of Sydney, who came second on 52. Perth had also only lost 3 matches all year before the final. Sydney FC, however, claimed second spot despite suffering through a significant injury crisis, and handed Perth two of those regular season defeats.
With all hands on deck last year’s premiers (Sydney) looked capable of taking out the championship, and they proved their class despite VAR potentially blundering for the second grand final in a row. The win on penalties was an exciting end to an otherwise dull match, with no goals in 120 minutes of play, but in the end Sydney claimed the title with ease.