Perth (Australia) (AFP) – Goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne was the hero Sunday, saving twice in a penalty shootout as Sydney FC beat Perth Glory to win the A-League grand final after extra time ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
In front of 56,371 fans at Perth Stadium, he blocked shots from substitutes Juande and Brendon Santalab to hand his team a record-equalling fourth finals win, taking them level with Melbourne Victory.
“Pure elation,” Redmayne said after crushing Glory’s dream of a maiden crown. “Full credit to the boys. We knew it was going to be tough, a tactical battle.
“But the boys executed and I’m just so happy that we could do it for our captain Alex Brosque, he is Sydney through-and-through.”
Sydney had the clear advantage on paper, having lost to Perth just once in their previous 11 meetings.
Despite Perth being the dominant team this year, occupying top spot on the A-League table for much of the 27-game regular season, Sydney were one of only two teams to beat them.
Under A-League rules, the teams that finished the season first (Perth) and second (Sydney) progressed straight to the semi-finals.
Sydney crushed Melbourne Victory 6-1 and Glory beat Adelaide United 5-4 on penalties to set up the decider, which proved a tight affair with few clear cut chances.
“To lose on penalties is difficult, but if it is any consolation you were the best team all year,” Sydney captain Brosque, who played his last game before retirement, told the Perth fans afterwards.
Glory went close to opening their account on four minutes when Jason Davidson crossed from the left and Chris Ikonomidis rose above the defence only to steer his header just past the far post.
Sydney also had a half-chance early on when Rhyan Grant met Brandon O’Neill’s cross from a free-kick, but his glancing header went high of the target.
It was end-to-end and Redmayne had to pull off a fingertip save to deny Dino Djulbic.
Sydney then controversially had a goal disallowed after 27 minutes for offside on a VAR decision that so incensed coach Steve Corica that he was yellow-carded for his reaction.
If it had stood, Matthew Spiranovic would have had the dubious honour of a grand final own goal.
Redmayne again pulled off a fine diving save early in the second half to tip Diego Castro’s header over the bar as Perth pressed hard for the opener.