The longest and perhaps most frustrating A-League season finished with a bang after a fantastic grand final. In what was a positive end to the season, Sydney FC and Melbourne City produced an entertaining game. A brilliant bit of improvisation from Rhyan Grant secured the title for the Sky Blues who deservedly win a record fifth A-League championship.
1. VAR has a place in football
For all its critics, the VAR, got a game changing decision 100% right. Harrison Delbridge’s strike was ruled out after Lachlan Wales impeded the view of Sydney FC goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne.
Per the Laws of the Game it was correct.
Fans need to understand the VAR is not the problem but rather fans and indeed some players need to understand the Laws of the Game.
2. Dawn of a new era
With the days of the salary cap appearing to be numbered, there is every chance tonight’s heartbreaking result could hail the dawn of a new era for Melbourne City. The boys from Bundoora have all the resources needed to become a dominant force. The women have won four W-League titles in five years and are the benchmark in women’s football.
The type of players that City will bring to Australia is exciting for the league. A lifting of the cap means young up and coming stars or high quality legends who are nearing the end of their career may come down under rather than head to New York or Yokohama.
Though they lost tonight, City somewhat threw the monkey off the back by getting to the big stage. They played some great football especially in the post Covid period.
3. The A-League for all its critics has always been entertaining. Plenty of goals usually and exciting play. The grand final was an enthralling contest with Melbourne City well on top early against the benchmark club over the last few seasons.
City will rue their missed chances. They should have scored goals in a dominant first half which would have gone a long way to securing the title. Sadly it wasn’t to be.
Sydney FC had their moments during regular time as class team always do and ultimately produced the winner in extra time.
Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover made some fine saves whenever the Sky Blues threatened.
There were plenty of chances for both teams throughout the contest with some desperate defending keeping each other at bay until Luke Bratten’s excellent pass led to Rhyan Grant’s moment of brilliance.