EletiofeA-League 2020 grand final: Sydney FC v Melbourne City...

A-League 2020 grand final: Sydney FC v Melbourne City – live!

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Here’s the disallowed goal. You decide.

A-League Brasil
(@ALeagueBR)

Como já não bastasse todo o clima de final, a decisão ganha um ingrediente a mais. Gol anulado com auxílio do VAR 📺 aos 20 min.

Delbridge finaliza, mas Wales em posição irregular teria participado da jogada impedindo a visão do goleiro.

E ai, offside ou não? 🤔 #ALeagueGF pic.twitter.com/mHxXO6okXf

August 30, 2020

29 mins: Sydney FC step it up a notch and find some room to move in front of the City goal. Le Fondre controls the ball with one touch, turns the defender and looks en route to goal before Good appears for all love and money to impair the striker’s movement. Le Fondre hits the deck but the call is no penalty. The Sydney FC man can’t believe it. Play on. It’s still 0-0.

26 mins: Retre goes down in the middle of the park and the referee wants to have a word with Berenguer but there is no hand in the pocket and hence no card.

24 mins: A quarter of the way through the grand final and already VAR has made its impact felt. City still work the ball around with alacrity and purpose despite the disappointment of the goal that never was. Wales is involved again, bit his cross is high, wide and none-too-handsome.

Twitter is dead-set going into meltdown over that disallowed goal. I’d show you one, but this is a family show.

17 mins: Goal disallowed! Noone works his way around one defender, his cross spits out to Delbridge just outside the box and the defender drills the ball low and true to give Melbourne City what should be a deserved lead.

But VAR wants a good look at this. Wales is judged to be obscuring Redmayne’s view in an off-side position and the goal is disallowed. Borderline call but perhaps the right one. Hard lines for Melbourne City, who deserve to be a goal to the good.

Harrison Delbridge wheels away

Harrison Delbridge wheels away in celebration. Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Updated

13 mins: City work the ball around with ease in their own third, the Sky Blues content to sit back and wait. Sydney FC are clearly prepared to absorb Melbourne City’s bluster, but they might remind themselves to get some possession while they’re at it. Early days, but the initiative rests with City at this stage.

Andrew Thomas
(@AndyThomas_)

A different Grand Final day to anything I’ve experienced before, but all that matters is that #SydneyIsSkyBlue #ALeague #ALeagueGF pic.twitter.com/gS2hRbilGt

August 30, 2020

8 mins: Lovely long ball to Maclaren, who controls the ball with his chest – or maybe even neck – and tries to work around Redmayne, but the Sydney FC stopper corners the striker and averts the danger. Definite cracks exposed there. Direct and long from Melbourne City. Almost did for the reigning champions.

6 mins: Neither side has really settled into stride yet. City have started the brighter but it’s all nervous energy for the time being. Barbarouses makes a dashing run down the right side but off side is the inevitable call.

2 mins: Sydney FC enjoy their first venture forward of any note and it’s left to Caceres to have a speculative crack from outside the box, however a swing and a miss almost causes a crack in Good’s shin. Free kick deep in defence for City.

1 min: The whistle sounds and we are away. The toilet seat is indeed up for grabs. City kick start affairs. Noone pops one in from the left, Maclaren has half a sniff and the result is an early corner. Some early jitters from Sydney FC?

A-League trophy

What it’s all about: the toilet seat. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Updated

Players are now walking onto the pitch. Strap yourselves in. We are barely moments away from the start. But first, the national anthem. I’m as patriotic as the next guy, but I’ve always found this tradition odd.

Players stand for the national anthem.

Players stand for the national anthem. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Updated

For the love of hair.

Rhyan Grant

Sydney FC’s Rhyan Grant warms up ahead of the A-League grand final at Bankwest Stadium. Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

These teams have shared victory and defeat in two meetings this season. Jamie Maclaren doesn’t score with the same frequency against Sydney FC as he does against other teams. Adam Le Fondre has shown he is partial to an odd goal or two against Melbourne City. Milos Ninkovic is Milos Ninkovic. Each of the last two teams to make their first grand final appearance have lost on the day. So what does this all mean?

A 2-1 win to Sydney FC, of course.

Sydney FC
(@SydneyFC)

Looking sharp 👌#SydneyIsSkyBlue #Premi4rs #OneDown #ALeagueGF pic.twitter.com/isGJOq41ru

August 30, 2020

In pre-match interviews on Fox, Melbourne City coach Erick Mombaerts confirmed he doesn’t have any big-game superstitions and Sydney FC’s Steve Corica revealed he is in fact feeling nervous. You can only answer the questions put in front of you.

Speaking of Mombaerts, whom Simon Hill delectably referred to as a ‘French technician’ in the article mentioned below, should he stay or should he go … regardless of victory or defeat tonight?

Updated

Loving this trip down memory lane. It started with Steve Corica, today it could all end with Steve Corica. Well, ‘end’ isn’t quite the right word but ‘continue’ just doesn’t have the same poetic impact.

Socceroos
(@Socceroos)

Out of the archives: the first ever Hyundai @ALeague Grand Final.

32-time Socceroo Steve Corica was the hero for @SydneyFC that day, scoring the winning goal.

Today he’s looking to guide Sydney FC to back-to-back Championships as head coach.#ALeagueGF pic.twitter.com/HYsaMylvIN

August 30, 2020

Speaking of ripping reads, do yourself a favour and tuck into David Squires’ sideways take on the A-League grand final. If you haven’t done so already, that is. Which of course you have. So just go ahead and read it again, will you? Multiple takes are a must, I find. You notice things second and third time around that you didn’t see first-up.

Teams

Updated

Today’s coronavirus-capped capacity at Bankwest Stadium is 7,500 people. The joke goes that Melbourne City will not notice any restrictions. This is about the average attendance for City games, as my colleague, Simon Hill, points out in his excellent piece published yesterday.

Hill also asks why City haven’t attracted the affections of sport-mad Melbourne despite the best efforts of the mega-rich City Football Group.

It’s a bloody good question.

Preamble

Scott Heinrich

Good evening and welcome to our live coverage of the A-League grand final. The road to Bankwest Stadium has been long, winding and littered with doubt. But for all the tumult in a season jolted by Covid-19, the two best teams of the competition have seen off all-comers to advance to the decider. Both Sydney FC and Melbourne City did no more than they had to in the semi-finals – a pair of 2-0 victories were as safe as they were workmanlike – but if any two teams are capable of producing a match of quality befitting the stage, it’s these two.

Hearts of the neutral majority will be siding with City, who are seeking a maiden grand final win after previously falling four times at the semi-final stage in their now decade-long existence. Victory for Sydney FC will bring a fifth A-League championship to the club and herald just the second back-to-back title triumph since Brisbane Roar in 2011-2012. It would also add another chapter to the dynasty of a team that has been crowned premiers in four of the past five seasons to go with championships in 2017 and 2019.

There is quality all over the park, but if either – or both – of the A-League’s leading marksmen are let off the leash, we’re in for a treat. Melbourne’s Jamie Maclaren might have shaded Adam Le Fondre for this season’s Golden Boot award, but there is a cigarette paper between the two in terms of class and capability. Either could win the game off their own boot.

Can’t wait for this one. Would love to get your thoughts on the grand final, or any other topic you might loosely be able to relate to the match. To get involved, drop me an email or tweet @scott_heinrich

Bankwest Stadium
(@BankwestStadium)

Stunning afternoon for a Grand Final! 🏡@SydneyFC v @MelbourneCity, who you got in the #ALeagueGF? pic.twitter.com/rTkVtAOwR7

August 30, 2020

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