A-League grand final: Perth Glory v Sydney FC – The Sydney Morning Herald

A-League grand final: Perth Glory v Sydney FC - The Sydney Morning Herald

Brosque eyes fairytale finish

Brandon ONeill: Looking at the replay maybe [we have been hard done by]. But you have to play to the referee.

45+1 mins: There goes the whistle, and its goalless after an entertaining opening period. Sadly though, that controversial VAR decision will dominate half-time chat.

45 mins: Brosques well fired up here. He wants to go out with a bang, clearly. And why not. He absolutely should be running himself into the ground.

Brosque was in super touch in last weeks semi-final against Melbourne Victory, netting a fine volley as his Sky Blues side peeled away from the champions en route to a 6-1 thumping.

43 mins: Brosques bleeding heavily. Its the base of his neck thats been cut, and he doesnt seem very happy about the challenge by Spiranovic that led to it. It appears there was a raised elbow. Off he goes to get it seen to.

The 35-year-old could do just that in Sundays A-League grand final, when he leads the Sky Blues into battle with success-starved premiers Perth Glory.

41 mins: Kilkenny switches play as the clock ticks down towards half-time. Franjic gets there but is closed down quickly. No dice this time.

“Theres going to be a real lot of noise, its a lot of energy, but I think both teams will be able to use it in different ways to spur them on.”

39 mins: Wow, is that a beer snake in the crowd. Its enormous! The Glory fans handling it appear pretty pleased with themselves.

The grand final will be played at a different venue to their Perths regular home of HBF Park, across town at the recently opened Optus Stadium.

38 mins: Nope, its taken short, which is a poor decision and Sydney are able to close down quickly.

Sydney FC enjoy the atmosphere of the derby with the Wanderers each season and have plenty of recent finals experience to draw upon.

37 mins: That kerfuffle seems to have taken the sting out of the game for a moment now. But heres a free-kick for Perth, Kilkenny over it and with a chance of getting a decent ball into the box.

34 mins: Well, well not want for a talking point later. Lets get back to the action, its still goalless despite that scare for Perth.

Sydney FC thought they had the opener against Perth Glory in the 28th minute, as the ball found the net off Matthew Spiranovic, but it was ruled out for offside. However, replays clearly indicated that call was incorrect, but the officials opted not to use the technology to intervene.

The VAR is a waste of time. Waste of effort and waste of money. But lets be positive, at least it was switched on this year

Just get rid of VAR. They either can't use it properly, or it doesn't work. Whatever, its a blight on the rhythm, flow, character and essence of the sport. So get rid of it. What's the point of having it if they won't use it when they should anyway

31 mins: See for yourself. (Also, to note: it wouldnt have been Le Fondres goal – the final touch seems to come off Spiranovic.)

On their last-out form, there can be only one winner, and it isnt the home side. Perth only just scraped through to the decider after beating Adelaide United on penalties, while Sydney are high on confidence after their semi-final win over Victory.

28 DISALLOWED! Huge controversy.Corica furious as @SydneyFC denied the opener for offside.But… 👀 pic.twitter.com/8zsBwcWvbx

For love and money, Tony Sage bound to Perth Glory

29 mins: Corica gets a yellow card for protesting the decision. Hes (rightly) pointing up at the screen which is showing the replay. Apparently it wasnt a clear and obvious error though, so the decision wasnt overturned.

28 mins: Goal! No! Offside! Sydney FC think theyve opened the scoring, but the flag is up and Le Fondres called off side! Lovely work from Brosque and Zullo fashion the opportunity down the Sydney left, and Le Fondre finishes from Zullos cross with aplomb, but it wont stand. It goes to VAR to check, and the technology is in agreement. Replays on the TV appear to show otherwise…

27 mins: The small pocket of Sydney FC fans can now be heard. Its not easy for them given the overwhelmingly local support inside the ground this evening.

25 mins: Thats a poor back pass by De Jong and Wilkinson is forced to chase it down and hack clear for a throw, avoiding a corner.

23 mins: And theres the first booking of the grand final. The winner is Shane Lowry, for a rather clumsy challenge on Le Fondre.

Sydney FC thought they had the opener against Perth Glory in the 28th minute, as the ball found the net off Matthew Spiranovic, but it was ruled out for offside. However, replays clearly indicated that call was incorrect, but the officials opted not to use the technology to intervene.

19 mins: Perth just play it around the back before going all the way back to Reddy as the pace is taken out of the game momentarily.

Brosque has made more appearances, scored more goals and won more honours than anyone in the clubs history, as well as being their most successful captain. Mere statistics dont fully convey the influence he has had on the club, where hes admired for his leadership.

Sydney FC happy fans are at a distance for A-League grand final

18 mins: Its been a decent start to this game. Neither side are afraid to push forward, which bodes well for the remainder.

Brosque has made more appearances, scored more goals and won more honours than anyone in the clubs history, as well as being their most successful captain. Mere statistics dont fully convey the influence he has had on the club, where hes admired for his leadership.

17 mins: Oooh! Djulbic thumps a header from a free-kick on target and Redmayne is called into meaningful action for the first time, tipping the ball over the bar!

Under the guidance of goalkeeping coach John Crawley and Sydney's strength and conditioning coaches, Redmayne significantly increase his presence and became one of the club's hardest workers at their training ground. He undertook extensive technical work with Crawley on the pitch before going through an additional weight sessions in the gym ever day, except for those before games. By his count, he would spend about an extra six hours a week in the gym on top of the standard load required of all players. Two years after his arrival, he put on 16kg of muscle to tip the scales to 89kg.

15 mins: Le Fondre wins a throw on the near side, and soon after Ninkovic finds himself in a bit of space deep in Perth territory. He tries to pull it back to a sky blue shirt but Kilkenny manages to get there first and clear.

When Andrew Redmayne made his entrance through the doors at Sydney FC's training ground in January 2016, he was slight on status and his stature was even slighter. He came to the Sky Blues as part of the infamous swap with Western Sydney Wanderers that saw Vedran Janjetovic head in the other direction. In the month prior, he had just lost his starting place at the Wanderers after a poor run of form and was given the green light to move elsewhere.

14 mins: The cameras focus on Andy Keogh for the first time. Wonder how he feels having been left on the bench today.

He arrived at Sydney's North Ryde training base accepting a place as back-up to first choice goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, a humbling move from between the posts on match day to the bench. Unsurprisingly, confidence wasn't sky high. More noticeably to his teammates, however, was his rake-thin body. Standing at 194 centimetres, he still cast a shadow but provided little shade with a frame of weighing just over 70 kilograms.

13 mins: Franjic now delivers a teasing ball into the Sydney box… Castro tries to get his head to it, but hes inches away and Sydney clear.

12 mins: Grant goes in hard on Ikonomidis and hes lucky to escape a booking, to be honest. Hell have to watch himself from now on.

GRAND FINAL LIVE BLOG: Perth Glory v Sydney FC

11 mins: The markings of an AFL nature can still be seen on the Optus pitch, but otherwise its a decent enough surface. Zullo swings in a decent-looking cross but Glory are able to clear easily enough.

Any critics have become mere murmurs this season but Redmayne has a chance to silence the last remaining ones with a win in Sunday's grand final against Perth Glory. He'll face his former coach, Popovic, and while he has only kind words to say about his old boss, he makes no secret that its his new home that's brought out the biggest and best he has to offer.

9 mins: Kilkenny looks to find Davidson now as Perth go on the front foot once again. Its a little overhit, but Perth soon win a free-kick as ONeill goes in heavily on Ikonomidis. Danger here.

8 mins: Ooh! ONeills near-post delivery is met by Grants forehead, but it flashes wide of the mark!

While some of the other clubs competing in the modern competition could trace some sort of lineage back to an era that had been classified by the games new administrators as old soccer, none brought with them the kind of legacy of sustained achievement and performance that Glory did.

7 mins: Brosque hustles and harries once again, and he wins a free-kick, which ONeill will take from down near the corner flag.

Fielding the likes of Con Boutsianis, Scotty Miller, Bobby Despotovski, Damian Mori, Simon Colosimo, Jamie Harnwell and Nick Mrdja, Glory was able to firmly establish themselves as a footballing presence in the West; laying down roots in a market dominated by the AFL.

6 mins: Not sure what Sydney were doing there, allowing Davidson to advance so high up the pitch. Theyll need to do much better from here on in.

Created from scratch in 2004 to take part in the A-League as the sole representative of Australias largest city, Sydney FC tasted triumph in the leagues first season; defeating Central Coast Mariners 1-0 in front of 41,689 fans at the Sydney Football Stadium.

5 mins: Davidson with the ball again, and hes allowed to advance into space before delivering a decent cross for Ikonomidis, who rises to meet the ball but can only direct it past the far upright! First chance of the game goes begging.

4 mins: Ninkovic looks to find Grant with a deep ball into the box, but its well cut out by Davidson and Perth clear their lines.

Under Graham Arnold, Sydney put together one of, if not the best seasons in A-League history in 2016/17 – losing only once over the course of the seasons 27 rounds – and followed it up with a equally impressive 2017/18 season.

3 min: Down to the other end, and Liam Reddy gives Perth fans a collective coronary as he dilly-dallies a bit on a back pass under pressure from the ever sprightly Alex Brosque. The ball pings off Brosque for a goal kick in the end, and the stadium breathes a collective sigh of relief.

2 mins: Jason Davidson wins the first throw of the game, down the Perth left, before moments later the ball falls kindly to him 30 yards out and he attempts a volley. He strikes it well enough, but it bounces well wide of Redmaynes goal.

1 min: And were off! Finally! Nearly 15 minutes after the advertised start time, impressive stuff. A great atmosphere at Optus Stadium and a loud cheer greets the kick-off. Shaun Evans is todays referee, ably assisted by Andrew Lindsay and Paul Cetrangolo. The fourth official is Chris Beath and Kris Griffiths-Jones is in the VAR bunker miles and miles away from Perth.

Nice, Rhyan Grant. The Sydney FC full-back leans back away from the mascot positioned in from of him for the anthem and empties his nostrils in a fashion the absolute master of the practice, Brian McClair, would be proud of.

Moment of applause. For the three people who sadly passed this week: Glorys original kit man, Wynnie Russell, former NSL star David Cervinski, and former PM Bob Hawke. The national anthem follows.

Toilet seats. There are plenty of them dotted around the stands of Optus Stadium, some purple, some sky blue, some wrapped in timeless tin foil. And here come the teams, past the real toilet seat, which is perched on a plinth, which in turn is placed on a red carpet. Very regal. Flame throwers go off, smoke wafts around the stadium, scarves go up, songs are sung. My goodness, this is a proper football atmosphere.

Alright then, its past official kick-off time. No sign of the players on the pitch yet. Are we going all Origin on this one?

Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australias most prominent sports journalists.

This season: Round 9 – Perth 1-2 Sydney FC, HBF Park; round 12 – Glory 3-1 Sydney, HBF Park; round 26 – Sydney 1-0 Perth, Jubilee Stadium.

54% – @PerthGloryFC have a shooting accuracy (ex. blocks) of 54.3% in @ALeague 2018/19, four percentage points greater than any other team in the competition (Melbourne Victory 49.8%). Magnetic.#ALeagueGF pic.twitter.com/vyvDkV0D50

PREVIEW: Everything you need to know ahead of the Glory v Sydney Grand FinalLIVE BLOG: The biggest stories of Hyundai A-League 2019 Grand Final weekGLORYS MUST-DOs: The four keys to Perths hopes of securing their first Hyundai A-League Championship SYDNEY FCS KEYS: The four things the Sky Blues have to do to win Sundays decider

Entertainment update. Is it just me (watching on the telly), or was that massively underwhelming? Ministry of Sound – Orchestrated, a singer backed by some musicians, have been on and done their bit.

Ahead of Sundays Hyundai A-League 2019 Grand Final between Perth Glory and Sydney FC, weve looking back through the annals to bring you a comprehensive guide to the decider.

One to calm the nerves for a bit!Its @ministryofsound Orchestrated bringing the pre game entertainment to you👌#ALeagueGF #FeelTheFinals #OneMission #OneGlory pic.twitter.com/BTYR1hpEQl

From the National Soccer League (1984-2004) to every Hyundai A-League Grand Final (2006-2018) – here are the stats to the big dance you need to know. 

The P-word. Mention it? Dont mention it? The reality is that this match will be settled tonight, and if that means penalties, then so be it. Teams would be remiss not to prepare for them (lets be honest, there are no Germans in either lineup), but no one wants them. If it does come to it, dont bank on many being scored – with Liam Reddy and Andrew Redmayne in between the sticks, were blessed with two of the finest penalty savers in the country.

Who was the youngest player to play in a Grand Final? How fast is the quickest ever Grand Final goal? And how many Grand Final goals have there been?

The crowd. A big one is expected tonight, perhaps the biggest in grand final history. The highest attendance so far is the 55,436 who turned out to watch Melbourne Victory beat Adelaide United 6-0 at Docklands Stadium. 53,000 tickets have been pre-sold for tonight, so theres more than a good chance that record will be broken.

Enough of this sensible chat, heres the maestro of the black and white pen, David Squires, with his own version of a grand final preview:

Grand finals are torturous affairs. They funnel the blood sweat and tears of a 140 match season into a single 90 minute duel. When the final whistle blows the victors can peacock into the off-season with their project validated. The vanquished will collapse to the turf knowing that despite the nearest of misses the narrative of their campaign will be retrofitted to one of failure. The stakes could not be higher for Perth Glory and Sydney FC.

Heres Tony Popovic: We know theyre a very good side and thats why theyre here. We welcome them here today and were ready.

On the change to his starting lineup: Its a tactical decision. Something that we see with Sydney FC we feel Joel can do something in a certain aspect starting. And we feel Andy can do something if he comes on.

Pre-match entertainment. Perhaps as an nod to the formative years of Castro and Brosque in the 1990s, tonights show kicks off with something from the Ministry of Sound. I say something, as Im not entirely sure if MoS is still doing music, as they used to 20 years ago. Indeed, a quick internet search tells me it is now a multimedia entertainment business and not merely the nightclub it used to be. It also boasts a shared workspace and private members club, worldwide events operation, music publishing business and fitness studio. Wow.

Ageing maestros. Footballs a youngsters game, some bitter old bloke well past his prime probably once said. But try telling that to Diego Castro or Alex Brosque, who are expected to have a huge bearing on tonights events in Perth, despite their advanced years. Castro, 86, has been instrumental in Glorys resurgence, prompting talk during the week that the Spaniard can rightfully lay claim to being the greatest A-League player of all time. Meanwhile, Sydney FC captain Brosque, a year younger but equally sprightly, as evidenced by his semi-final performance, has consistently performed so well this season, it beggars belief this will be his last game before retirement. Bowing out with a toilet seat is his pool room will be a remarkable way to end a brilliant career.

The lineups are in and theres a surprise for Perth, but none for Sydney. Glory coach Tony Popovic has opted to bring in Joel Chianese for Andy Keogh. Hell talk with the people on the telly shortly, and well have the reasons behind that decision. But for Sydney, its as you were – and why would Steve Corica change it up after that 6-1 win over Victory?

The Starting XI is in – Chianese partners Ikonomidis up top with our Maestro just in between the midfield and attacking lines.#ALeagueGF #FeelTheFinals #OneMission #OneGlory pic.twitter.com/aLEBgtSZWa

LINEUP | Heres how we shape up for the 2019 @ALeague Grand Final!Unchanged from our massive Semi-Final win last week, what do you make of the squad?#SydneyIsSkyBlue #ComeWithUs #FeelTheFinals #ALeagueGF pic.twitter.com/iyo83MahAH

Hello, welcome. Its the big dance, as some bright spark once termed it (while presumably crediting the NCAA). But lets call it the A-League grand final here, for obvious reasons, and what an A-League grand final this 2019 edition promises to be.

Say what you want about the finals system (please, dont get me started), but at least this seasons two best teams will scrap it out for the coveted shiny silver toilet seat. Premiers plate winners Perth have been sensational since Tony Popovic took over and few would begrudge them a first A-League title (their two previous triumphs came in the NSL era); yet the job done by Steve Corica in the immediate post-Arnold era in finishing runners-up and then blitzing their way to this decider has been equally commendable.

As Perth look to break their duck, Sydney are eyeing up a fourth A-League title to take them level with Melbourne Victory – who they utterly pummelled in their semi-final a week ago – and for that reason victory tonight will be all the sweeter for those in sky blue.

Glorys route into tonights game was slightly less straightforward, needing penalties to see off Adelaide last week, and momentum may well play a factor in proceedings in Perth.

Well soon find out. Kick-off is at 4:30pm local, 6:30pm back in Sydney. Ninety minutes (and possibly 30 minutes of extra-time and, gulp, maybe even penalties) later at a packed and boisterous Optus Stadium and well know the identity of the 2019 champions.

In the meantime, feel free to get in touch on Email or tweet @mike_hytner with any thoughts on the game. Lets do this.

More news:

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Children distressed after being threatened by teenager in Perth – BBC News
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