Melbourne City have won their first-ever men’s silverware after an intense 1-0 win over Sydney FC in the Westfield FFA Cup Final at AAMI Park on Wednesday night.
Tim Cahill - who else? – with the decisive goal courtesy of a perfectly executed header just after the break in front of a record FFA Cup Final crowd of 18,751.
The marquee hero was subbed off to huge applause minutes later after picking up an injury after scoring yet another crucial goal in his amazing career.
After impressive financial investment by the City Football Group, City’s win is reward for the club’s ambition in Australia and will be celebrated long and hard by their growing fan base.
After both sides paid their respects pre-kick off to those who lost their lives in a plane crash in Colombia yesterday, the most hotly anticipated FFA Cup Final got underway in feisty fashion.
Luke Brattan with a late tackle on Michael Zullo right in front of the Sydney FC bench sparking an all-in melee that threatened to boil over. The City man was yellow carded. It set the tone.
The contest soon settled into an arm wrestle.
The best chance of the opening exchanges fell to an unmarked Cahill, who guided his header wide from a set piece.
And just minutes later his strike partner Fernando Brandan smashed over the bar from inside the box.
Sydney FC with Rhyan Grant’s bursting run into the box should’ve done better but with the goal in his sights the defender elected to play the ball off rather than shoot and the chance was squandered.
Sydney FC, organised and committed. City desperate to find a way through as both sides struggled to come up with a quality final ball.
The teams went to the break 0-0.
But after Brosque missed a half chance for the visitors, an Ivan Franjic ball into the Sydney box found Cahill unmarked and he rarely misses twice to give City a precious lead.
Sydney FC threw on combative striker Matt Simon for Filip Holosko as they chased the game but it was Bobo who should’ve equalised.
From Simon’s perfect cross he guided his header across the goal only for Michael Jakobsen to clear off the line with 20 minutes to go.
In the frantic finale to an intense clash the temperatures rose even more.
Both sides pressed with chances at both ends with Sydney FC having a huge shout for a penalty in time added on and Brandan missing a golden chance to make it 2-0.
In the end, the difference was one moment of magic from "Super Tim" - like he's done so many times before.
1-0 Cahill, Melbourne City, 52’
Sydney FC switched off from a corner with the ball played back to Ivan Franjic on the right. As the defence pushed out his inch-perfect cross found Tim Cahill free and as he fell back the legend guided the ball past Vukovic for a classy opener.
Follow all the action on Social
Bouzanis (GK), Franjic, Malik, Kilkenny, Colazo, Kamau, Cahill, Jakobsen, Fornaroli, Brattan, Brandan
Subs: Sorensen (GK), Muscat, Chapman, Caceres, Fitzgerald
Vukovic (GK), Ryall, Jurman, Brillante, Zullo, Bobo Ninkovic, O’Neill, Brosque, Holosko, Grant
Subs: Evans (GK), Wilkinson, Dimitrijevic, Carney, Simon
Conditions: Overcast, 17 degrees at kick off
Westfield FFA Cup Final preview: City v Sydney FC
The third - and most hotly anticipated - Westfield FFA Cup Final pits the top two sides on the Hyundai A-League ladder vying to win the magnificent FFA Cup trophy for the first time. After Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory triumphed in 2014 and 2015 respectively, Wednesday