A definitive list of the best ever A-League grand finals

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Name something Australian’s love more than a grand final. We’ll wait.

Here’s the best A-League grand finals in the history of the league, featuring five of the most memorable championship games, ranked.

 

5. Sydney FC vs Central Coast Mariners – 2006

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Sydney FC 1
Central Coast Mariners 0

15 years ago the A-League, in it’s infancy, put on a show.

Over 41 thousand spectators packed the Sydney Football Stadium – then known as Aussie Stadium – for the inaugural A-League Grand Final. It was  an electrifying atmosphere.

And it was a tight game – both teams ended the match with 50 percent possession and 15 attempts on goal.

Manchester United legend Dwight Yorke provided the pass to Steve Corica who slotted home the winning goal to crown Sydney FC as the A-League’s first ever champions.

Seeing Corica running to the bench as the camera pans across a passionate sea of sky blue supporters is an iconic moment in our game. But it’s not the most memorable grand final.

 

2. Melbourne Victory vs Sydney FC – 2010

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Melbourne Victory 1 (2)
Sydney FC 1 (4)

Grand finals are exciting, but they’re more exciting when it’s a derby. ‘The Big Blue’ derby in 2010 was one that football lovers did not want to miss.

It was a nightmare start for the boys in blue when pivotal striker Archie Thompson was taken off after suffering a knee injury.

Mark Bridge opened the scoring for Sydney but nine minutes before full-time Adrian Leijer returned fire and scored the equaliser.

The game went to penalties and it was a shock when captain Kevin Muscat’s penalty smacked against the right-hand post.

The words of Simon Hill will ring in Victory fans ears for all time.

“The professor of the penalty kick has missed in the grand final!”

To make matters worse, Sydney won the title in Melbourne’s home state.

 

3. Melbourne Victory vs Adelaide United – 2007

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Melbourne Victory 6
Adelaide United 0

Probably one of the most bizarre grand finals that the A-League – or any league – has ever witnessed, featuring ‘the original rivalry’.

Usually, a grand final of any football match is extremely tight, to the point where the match needs to be decided with extra time or penalty shootout.

To lose 6-0 in a grand final would make any team wish that the ground would swallow them up and Adelaide players were no doubt feeling that at the time.

It was a strange night to say the least, capped by Archie Thompson becoming the first (and to this day, only) player to score five goals in an A-League match.

Adelaide’s captain Ross Aloisi didn’t help the situation when, at 2-0 down, he was sent off only 34 minutes into the match.

John Kosmina was furious and heavily criticised the match referee, Mark Shield, which was one of the leading factors that forced him to resign.

 

2. Brisbane Roar vs Perth Glory – 2012

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Brisbane Roar 2
Perth Glory 1

This match had you feeling for the Glory as they’d it to their first ever A-League grand final but were defeated in the cruellest of styles.

The Roar conceded an own goal by defender Ivan Franjic in the 58th minute, giving Perth a glimmer of hope at an A-League title.

Devastation struck for the Glory when Besart Berisha scored the equaliser in the 84th minute and was then awarded a controversial penalty which he converted just after the allotted stoppage time.

Brisbane went on to win back-to-back titles, becoming the first team in A-League history to accomplish it.

 

1. Brisbane Roar vs Central Coast Mariners – 2011

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Brisbane Roar 2 (4)
Central Coast Mariners 2 (2)

The most dramatic and memorable A-League grand final is the 2011 match between Brisbane Roar and Central Coast Mariners.

It showcased a remarkable comeback that took the whole footballing nation by storm.

A record-breaking attendance of 50,168 crammed into Suncorp Stadium, setting the scene perfectly.

The game remained goalless after regular time but it was about to get wild.

The Mariners went on to score two goals in the first half of extra-time, giving all watching the sense that it was game over.

Brisbane had other ideas, doing the unthinkable and scoring two goals in the final minutes of extra-time.

When the camera begins to shake when watching it on TV from the crowd’s shout, you know that you are witnessing something special.

Brisbane completed the comeback by winning the match on penalties, breaking the heart of every single Mariners supporter and confirming securing this match’s place in history as the best A-League grand final ever.

Feature image credit: The Football Sack 

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Daniel Gualterio
Daniel Gualterio
Bachelor of Sports Media student from Charles Sturt University covering Macarthur FC. Passionate for the world game.

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