Aloisi targets maiden championship

February 22, 2008
By Philip Henderson

There are just two glaring omissions from John Aloisi's impressive footballing CV.

Come Sunday, the Central Coast Mariners striker hopes to have completed both.

Despite a glittering career - which has seen him become the only Australian to play in Europe's top three leagues, score in the World Cup and slot home the most famous penalty in Socceroos history - Aloisi has never won a championship, let alone a final.

It's little wonder the 32-year-old is jumping out of his skin in anticipation ahead of Sunday's A-League grand final against Newcastle at the Sydney Football Stadium.

"It's up there," Aloisi said of where tomorrow's match stood in terms of the rest of his 17-year professional career.

"It's a grand final, it's hard to win silverware, so I'm excited.

"I think any grand final, it doesn't matter where you're playing, is big, and this is no different.

"Plus we're playing against our rivals, so it will have that extra bit of tension."

Amazingly, the premier's plate, won by the Mariners for topping the league, was Aloisi's first piece of silverware in senior football.

Prior to that, the closest he had been to a trophy was when Real Betis held aloft the Copa del Ray - Spain's cup competition - in 2005.

Aloisi, then with Osasuna, had scored a late equaliser to send the final into extra time at the Calderon in Madrid. But he was denied cup glory when Betis striker Dani popped up in the 115th minute to bury home the winner.

While hoping to again get on the scoresheet, Aloisi was keen for a different end result.

"I've played in a final before in Spain and we ended up losing in extra time, so hopefully that doesn't happen again," said Aloisi, the man's whose penalty sealed Australia's qualification to the 2006 World Cup in the playoff against Uruguay.

"After the minor premiership, this will be my first silverware so hopefully we can win it."