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Triple treat for Victory in dominant Grand Final display

The 29,843 fans who flocked to AAMI Park for the season deciding clash between Melbourne and Sydney FC could have not been faulted for attending a ‘big bash’ or a ‘big red’ rather than the second ever ‘Big Blue’ Grand Final after the frenetic opening stages.

An early head clash saw Matt Jurman don the tape after a flailing elbow from Besart Berisha who more than deservedly received a yellow card, with Nicholas Ansell soon joining him in the bloodshed after an unfortunate clash.

And it would be the home side who took first blood in the clash, with kiwi International Kosta Barbarouses intercepting the ball on 34 minutes from a poor clearance from Nikola Petkovic.

The winger planted a ball on the foot for Berisha, who volleyed a one-two off the chest of Gui Finkler before unleashing a perfect half-volley past the helpless Janjetovic to the rapturous applause of the sellout Melbourne crowd.

With half-time beckoning and Sydney FC on the hunt, Alex Brosque combined for a delicious one-two with Marc Janko and the sky blue stalwart smashed a shot at Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas, but the young keeper was more than capable blocking the shot with his foot.

No changes were made by either side in the break as both sides aimed to claim their ascendency on the match and the home side nearly doubled their advantage when a devious bouncing ball played havoc for defender Matthew Jurman.

Match Details Full match details »

Date/Time Sun May 17, 2015, 4:00 PMStadium AAMI ParkAttendance 29,843Referee Jarred Gillett

Sydney

Yellow Card29′ R.GrantYellow Card64′ S.SmeltzYellow Card74′ S.Ryall

Barbarouses took advantage of Jurman’s depleted vision and after turning the Sydney defender, but could only put the ball into the side netting, courtesy of a deflection off the incoming Janjetovic.

Jurman would make amends moments later after a bobbing ball on the consequential corner found its way to the far post and he was more than grateful to clear it to the sidelines.

This would be followed by a purple patch for the Sky blues who peppered the Victory goal with shots in the search for an equaliser but never really tested Thomas.

On the fiftieth minute mark, Graham Arnold shuffled his deck, bringing on Shane Smeltz for Chris Naumoff in an attempt to give a further attacking outlet through the second highest goalscorer in A-League history.

The Victory had a spate of chances from the dead ball on the hour, however they could not make the most of their opportunities and struggled to maintain any rhythm.

With 63 minutes on the clock, Fahid Ben Khalfallah showed off the silky skills that made him such a desirable attacking option for Kevin Muscat this season, mazing his way through three players before rocketing a shot at Janjetovic.

Finkler would again have a shot on goal moments later from the dead ball, but his fizzing shot was more than matched by the capable Sydney ‘keeper.

With a quarter of an hour left on the clock the visitors desperately looked for an equaliser and nearly got that through a curling Marc Janko header.

Minutes later and Petkovic had Victory fans with their hearts in the mouths with a sizzling free kick just floating over Thomas’ crossbar as the missed opportunities continued to pile up for Sydney.

And on 83 minutes, it was confirmed that the trophy would be headed down south for a third time, with the home side putting the sword to the Sydney-siders.

Another tame clearance from Petkovic found Barbarouses who smashed his shot on the second attempt past Janjetovic to send the fans into overdrive.

Perhaps a bit too excited, Carl Valeri was sent off moments after the restart after kicking the ball away from a free kick for a second yellow card.

But a man who wasn’t overawed with the moment and a talisman this season for the Victory, Leigh Broxham, would cap off an amazing Grand Final performance in injury time.

Completely outpacing his marker, the utility powered his way through before smashing a shot to the right of the hapless Janjetovic and confirm a 3-0 win for the Victory.

There would be 90 seconds reserved however for a legend of the navy blue, and with 210 appearances to his name Archie Thompson came on to a roar reserved for a champion in what could be his final game for the club.

In another interesting turn of events for the home side, Kevin Muscat would also become the first ever captain and coach to lift the A-League trophy, albeit not before chairman Frank Lowy took a tumble off the A-League winners podium.

It was perhaps fitting that the captain of the winning side – Mark Milligan – who had ran hard end-to-end all game, would receive the Joe Marston Medal to cap off an amazing result for the Melbourne Victory Football Club.

About the author

avatarKris is a freelance sports journalist, a two-time WA media guild award winner, and podcast host and writer for Ultimate A-League.

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Comments

  • britesparke

    Arnold huffed and puffed and tried to blow Victory’s house down…..but couldn’t. In a great exhibition of applying pressure and shutting all of Sydney’s weapons down -Ibini,Brosque,Janko,Dimitrevic- Victory were emphatic in claiming the A League Grand Final as theirs. Nothing highlighted this more than when, down to ten men, “all the way with FBK” swept upfield and put on a brilliant pass for Broxham to finish. As a neutral I thoroughly enjoyed Arnold shooting himself in the foot and the Victory triumph!