It was the moment which firmly swung the pendulum in Melbourne City’s advantage and sealed their first ever grand final victory.
Minutes after City had wrestled back Sydney FC’s early advantage and the game delicately poised at 1-1, a poor touch from Bobo was seized upon by Marco Tilio but was caught by Luke Brattan’s late challenge who was given his marching orders by referee Chris Beath.
Against his former side, Brattan became the 13th player in Australian national league history to be sent off in a decider which was ultimately his first career red-card.
The moment proved to be a turning point.
The challenge wasn’t that bad but it’s a yellow card offence.
Woeful decision from Luke Brattan given his first tackle was poor as well. #ALeague#ALeagueGF
What a dumb tackle, on a yellow #ALeagueGF
Crazy challenge from Luke Brattan on a yellow card.
What a howler.#ALeagueGF
For the first time in their 12-year history, Melbourne City have been crowned A-League champions, coming from behind to defeat a ten-men Sydney FC 3-1 at AAMI Park.
In front of a hostile capacity crowd, the Premiers fought back after going behind against the reigning champions, wrestling back the ascendancy with a trademark tenacious performance.
Only a fortnight after returning from an almost season-ending hamstring injury, Nathaniel Atkinson was City’s star-man, scoring the equaliser moments after Kosta Barbarouses’ opener and taking home the Joe Marston Medal for his superb performance on the wing.
Brattan’s red card swung the tide in City’s favour before Scott Jamieson’s penalty gave City the lead on the stroke of halftime.
The result was soon put out of reach as Scott Galloway fired home from range – capping off a sensational campaign and exorcising the demons of last season’s heartbreaking Grand Final defeat.
Meanwhile, for Sydney they fell just shy of a history-making run of Championships as the loss meant they were unable to complete a first-ever ‘three-peat’.
Captain Scott Jamieson, who finally secured his first ever A-League Championship in three attempts thanked the fans for sticking by the club.
“To our amazing fans, it’s been a journey and a half,” Jamieson said post-game.
“We’ve been criticised a bit, some rightly so some not but let’s just take this moment to sink in because we bloody deserve it so thank you very much.”
Melbourne City have won their first A-League grand final. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Kisnorbo makes history
It’s been one incredible first season in charge for Patrick Kisnorbo.
After a slow start to the season, Kisnorbo turned the tide around with a sensational season winning the A-League Coach of the Year earlier this week – which was soon capped off by becoming Premiers last month and now the Championship.
As a result, Kisnorbo is now the first coach in A-League history to do both in his first season while also becoming the first manager to win both the A-League and W-League titles.
You would have been mistaken for thinking that AAMI Park was full to brim if you were venturing up Olympic Boulevard.
36 days after last playing in front of their Melbourne fans, City were willed on by a hostile and vociferous crowd which, at only a 50 per cent limit of 15,000, was at times deafening, in particular, after Jamieson’s go-ahead penalty and Galloway’s winner.
MELBOURNE CITY 3 (Atkinson 23’, Jamieson 45+1’, Galloway 90+3’)
SYDNEY FC 1 (Barbarouses 21’)
Melbourne City (4-3-3): Glover (GK), Galloway, Nuno Reis, Griffiths, Jamieson, O’Neill, Luna, Berenguer, Atkinson, Colakovski (Nabbout 74’), Tilio
Sydney FC (4-2-2-2): Heward-Belle (GK), Retre, Wilkinson, Warland, King, Brattan, Caceres (Wood 86’), Barbarouses, Baumjohann (Ninkovic 72’), Bobo (Van de Saag 37’), Le Fondre
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