Cahill wins Melbourne City FFA Cup

In what is a fairytale ending, marquee Tim Cahill’s header gave Melbourne City a 1-0 win over Sydney FC in the Westfield FFA Cup Final last night.

The script was written. The star striker just had to deliver and boy, did he deliver.

Cahill scored a trademark header from an Ivan Franjic cross to give Melbourne City the lead in the 53rd minute, screaming “this is why I came back” in his celebration.

The Socceroo and now Melbourne City legend was substituted in the 60th due to a knee injury, but the damage was already done and Cahill had registered another iconic performance for the history books.

From the outset, the electric intensity made the fixture feel like a final.

Both teams displayed their attacking prowess and a contentious tackle from Luke Brattan ignited spot fires across the ground and left Sydney FC manager Graham Arnold livid.

Man of the match and City captain Bruno Fornaroli helped create the home side’s first chance on goal in the 25th minute. The Uruguyuan cut back to Fernando Brandan, but his effort somehow went over the bar.

Both sides looked dangerous upfront but Franjic for City and Matt Jurman for Sydney contributed to their respective teams’ impenetrable defences.

The first half was a tactical battle that showcased the differences in football philosophy and the scoreline was 0-0 after 45 minutes.

The first chance of the second half came in the 52nd minute when Sydney FC captain Alex Brosque brought down a high ball in the box but his shot was cleverly saved by City ‘keeper Dean Bouzanis.

A minute later Cahill gave City the lead through his ultimate match winner. His forehead met a Franjic cross, before the ball, as if in slow motion, lobbed Sydney FC ‘keeper Daniel Vukovic into the back of the net.

The game’s tension and competitiveness was reiterated in the 65th minute where, on chase to a through ball, Fornaroli and Matt Simon, collided.

Fornaroli yelled at Simon, before almost stepping on him, much to the displeasure of the Sydney FC players.

Sydney FC’s biggest chance came in the 71st minute after a Simon cross was met powerful by a Bobo header but Michael Jakobsen made a desperate clearance off the line to keep City ahead.

A touching tribute by the crowd was paid to the victims of the Columbia plane crash in the 77th minute to mourn the number of people who tragically died. Both teams’ cheersquads stood and clapped for the sixty seconds.

With ten minutes remaining, City still led 1-0 and another goal was not out of the question.

Sydney FC looked threatening via Brosque and Simon, but the away side lacked the precision needed to equalise.

The match did not end without controversy. In the dying stages, Omar Malik seemed to foul Brosque on the edge of Sydney FC’s box, however, referee Peter Green was not interested.

After four minutes of stoppage time, the sound of Green’s whistle was music to City’s ears while it was fingernails on a chalkboard for Sydney FC.

To the delight of the home side’s fans, the chorus of Wonderwall’s ‘Oasis’ began to echo around the 18,751-strong crowd at AAMI Park.

A 1-0 win thanks to marquee man Tim Cahill earned Melbourne City the FFA Cup title and the club’s first piece of silverware.

 

Melbourne City 1 (Cahill 53′)
Sydney FC 0

Referee: Peter Green
Assistant Referee: Paul Cetrangolo and Nathan MacDonald
Fourth Official: Luke Brennan

Stadium: AAMI Park
Crowd: 18,751

Melbourne City: 5. FRANJIC Ivan, 6. MALIK Osama, 8. KILKENNY Neil, 9. COLAZO Nicolas, 11. KAMAU Bruce (12. FITZGERALD Nick 84′), 17. CAHILL Tim (10. CACERES Anthony 61′), 20. BOUZANIS Dean (GK), 22. JAKOBSEN Michael, 23. FORNAROLI Bruno (C), 26. BRATTAN Luke, 27. BRANDAN Fernando
Substitutes: 1. SORENSEN Thomas, 2. MUSCAT Manny, 4. CHAPMAN Connor, 10. CACERES Anthony, 12. FITZGERALD Nick

Sydney FC: 2.RYALL Sebastian , 5. JURMAN Matt, 6. BRILLANTE Josh, 7. ZULLO Michael, 9. BOBÔ, 10. NINKOVIC Milos, 13. O’NEILL Brandon (17. CARNEY David 72′), 14. BROSQUE Alex (C), 20. VUKOVIC Daniel (GK), 21. HOLOSKO Filip (21. SIMON Matt 62′), 23. GRANT Rhyan
Substitutes: 4. WILLIAMSON Alex, 8. DIMITRIJEVIC Milos, 17. CARNEY David, 18. SIMON Matt, 30. EVANS Mitch

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A-Grade football fan, C-grade player