Sydney FC claim A-League title
Sydney won the A-League title with a 4-2 penalty shoot-out win over Melbourne Victory following a 1-1 draw in Saturday's Grand Final at Etihad Stadium.
Mark Bridge's close-range header two minutes after the hour mark had put Sydney, who topped the table at the end of the regular season, ahead only for Adrian Leijer to equalise for defending champions Melbourne with nine minutes remaining.
In the shoot-out, Melbourne captain Kevin Muscat missed only for Victory keeper Mitchell Langerak to save from Shannon Cole and tie things up. But Sydney keeper Clint Bolton made the ultimately decisive save from Marvin Angulo as the Sky Blues emerged victorious.
After veteran midfielder Tom Pondeljak failed to recover from a hamstring injury and was ruled out for Melbourne before kick-off, the Victory suffered a further injury blow after just 10 minutes as striker Archie Thompson suffered a knee injury following a collision with Simon Colosimo and was replaced by Angulo.
After a cagey opening, Langerak parried away Chris Payne's shot four minutes before half-time before Surat Sukha headed over for Melbourne from Nick Ward's cross.
Bridge had an excellent chance to score early in the second half but his volley was pushed away by Langerak before Bolton was called into action for the first time after 52 minutes to deny Ward.
Rody Vargas had the ball in the net for Melbourne just after the hour mark but the goal was ruled out for offside and Sydney took full advantage to instantly open the scoring.
Bolton played the free-kick quickly and Sydney swept forward and, after Surat could only deflect Alex Brosque's cross over a stranded Langerak, Bridge headed in at the back post to stun the home crowd.
Payne had an opportunity to all but seal it for Sydney but turned the ball wide with the goal at his mercy before Karol Kisel and Carlos Hernandez went close for Melbourne.
But the home side did not have to wait long for an equaliser as Muscat delivered a free-kick into the area after 81 minutes and Leijer leapt high above Sebastian Ryall and finished superbly to Bolton's left.
Leijer had another chance to score a few minutes later but headed just over from Leigh Broxham's cross before Melbourne substitute Aziz Behich had a chance to be a hero.
But he failed to make enough contact from close range to beat Bolton as the grand final went to extra-time for the first time.
Bridge's rifled shot five minutes into the second period of extra-time brought the best out of Langerak before Melbourne's Hernandez and Sydney's Cole wasted free-kicks in the closing stages.
The usually reliable Muscat missed from 12 yards after Colosimo had netted for the Sky Blues. But Langerak produced a superb save from Cole, allowing Grant Brebner to pull Melbourne level. Hayden Foxe held his nerve for Sydney before Bolton denied Angulo, allowing Kisel to push Sydney ahead.
Broxham kept Melbourne's hopes alive but that only delayed Sydney's celebrations as South Korea defender Byun Sung-hwan netted and the Sky Blues claimed a second A-League title, having won the inaugural Grand Final in 2006.