Perth Glory have had their hearts broken at the final hurdle in Sunday’s A-League Grand Final against Sydney FC in front of a record-breaking crowd at Optus Stadium.
Andrew Redmayne produced four quality saves, including two during a one-sided penalty shoot-out as the Sky Blues were crowned A-League champions.
After neither side were able to break the deadlock during the 120 minutes of regular and extra time, the bearded goal-keeper was the hero for the visitors, who claimed the shoot-out 4-1.
Redmayne held his nerve to deny Golden Boot winner Andy Keogh and retiring veteran Brendon Santalab in consecutive attempts before substitute Reza Ghoochannejhad finished the job to farewell captain Alex Brosque out on a high.
Despite Redmayne’s heroics, striker Milos Ninkovic won the Joe Maston Medal for man-of-the-match, decided by a panel of media representatives.
The 56,371 attendance smashing the previous grand final record of 55,436 when Melbourne Victory romped home 6-0 over Adelaide United at Marvel Stadium in 2007.
It was also the biggest crowd Perth has ever seen for a football match, surpassing last year’s Glory v Chelsea crowd of 55,522 at Optus Stadium, with the atmosphere described as “the old Shed chant multiplied by about 20”.
For the second week in a row, the Glory’s fate will be decided by a penalty shoot-out after their thrilling Liam Reddy-inspired semi-final victory over Adelaide United at HBF Park last Friday night.
Premiers Plate winners Perth received an early slice of luck in their quest for a maiden A-League title thanks to a controversial no-goal call in the first half.
The home side did the bulk of the attacking to start the match before getting stung on the counter, with an own goal appearing to give the Sky Blues a 1-0 lead.
But the linesman deemed Michael Zullo to be offside by the narrowest of margins.
Video replays showed it could’ve gone either way, but the VAR (Video Assistant Referees) opted not to overturn the decision.
Sydney FC coach Steve Corica, visibly furious with the VAR call, got a yellow card for an outburst directed at the officials.
Fox Sports footballer commentators Daniel Garb and Brenton Speed were among the prominent media figures to slam the “huge error”.
“That was on. Harsh on Sydney,” Garb tweeted.
“It’s the person making the call via VAR, not the system. Lino has his flag up, VAR gave Syd a chance. That has to be given. Human error. Huge error.”
The Glory had a couple of near misses in the first 20 minutes.
Dino Djulbic’s header from a Diego Castro cross was tipped over the crossbar by an outstretched Sydney FC gloveman Andrew Redmayne at the 17-minute mark, while Joel Chianese also came close with his head.
It was Redmayne to the rescue again early in the second half, with Castro’s header denied by an even better save.
Irish striker Andy Keogh, who was surprisingly benched by Glory coach Tony Popovic to start the match, was finally subbed on for Chianese at the 73-minute mark.
Rhyan Grant was involved in a heated clash with Perth’s Jason Davidson early in the second half, with the pro-Glory crowd booing the Socceroos midfielder every time he touched the ball from then on.
The crowd then erupted when new-found enemy Grant was given a yellow card for a slide tackle on Socceroos teammate Chris Ikonimidis in the dying stages of regular time.
Grant had the last laugh however, nailing the visitors’ second-last penalty before blowing a kiss to the small group of travelling Sky Blues supporters behind the goals.
Source: The West Australian