The 5 greatest A-League international friendlies

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A brief history of Hyundai A-League international friendlies.

With the exciting announcement of Arsenal to travel downunder in 2017 the A-League international friendly roster continues to grow. So in celebration here’s a walk through the A-League’s ten year history and some of the more memorable international exhibitions.

No.5 Sydney FC v Chelsea FC – June 2015

A record 84,000 fans and a load of paper planes, Chelsea downed Sydney FC 1-0 with a wonder strike from Loic Remy. With the champions down-under and the infamous chosen one, Jose Mourinho, pacing the side line the match had fans smacking their lips in anticipation for a showdown. However, it was not to be. While Eden Hazard and Diego Costa parted the Sydney defence and lit up the crowd in the first half, the same could not be said for the following session. As the star-studded pitch began to dwindle fans rained down a force of paper planes from the stands in an effort to abate their boredom, which subsequently became one of the talking points of this odd star encounter.

No.4 A-League All-Stars v Manchester United – July 2013

A 5-1 goal fest saw Manchester united steam roll the A-League All-Stars who seemed to show up just to make the numbers. That didn’t trouble the crowd as 83,000 United fans were offered the perfect night of goals and thrills, and not to mention the first win for Moyes as manager of United. A brace from both Wellbeck and Lindegard, and some zest from Zaha down the line had united fans in ecstasy. Robin Van Persie’s late cameo and final goal was the cherry on top.

No.3 Sydney FC v LA Galaxy – November 2007

This time the underdog won. Sydney FC trumping LA Galaxy 5-3. However it wasn’t the result that was the focus of the night, nor the 80,000 crowd. A trademark freekick, curled by none other than David Beckham from 25 metres into the top corner had fans in disbelief. A fairytale game as he indeed bent it like Beckham.

No.2 A-League All-Stars v Juventus – August 2014

Perhaps the most exciting exhibition match, the A-League All-Stars were narrowly edged out by Juventus in the game’s final moments. Up and coming superstar Paul Pogba, and Pepe sealing the win for the travellers with clinical form. However, what shone through was the A-League’s mounting presence on the world stage. To almost trump the Italian giants was huge step for Australian football on the world stage as the result made headlines in Italy and Europe alike.

No.1 Melbourne Victory v Liverpool FC – July 2013

Heart stopping. One of the pinnacle moments that stands out in the A-League’s short history. A sell-out 95,000 fans belting out ‘You Will Never Walk Alone’ sent chills around footballing fans across the country and moved many to tears. “I want to put on record a huge thank you to the people of Melbourne and Australia. The ‘you’ll never walk alone’ at the beginning was a real tear-jerker” stated Brendan Rogers. And it was to be a magical night, with Steven Gerrard netting a trademark strike and Luis Suarez up to his usual razzling trickery to dupe the Victory Defence. 2-0 it ended to the Merseysiders, however no one would have had it any other way.

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George Vlotis
UTS Journalism graduate and football fanatic. Ex-NSW premier league player and now fortunate enough to be reporting on the A-League. Sydney is Sky Blue. Follow me @VlotisGeorge

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