With just 59 days until kick-off in the ninth edition of the Hyundai A-League we recall one of the all-time classic matches that had to be seen to be believed.
Without doubt one of the greatest Hyundai A-League matches ever played was the nine goal thriller between the Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC back on 22 December 2007. Looking back it-s amazing to think how far a lot of these players have come since that dramatic night.
This match literally had it all - the highest ever aggregate result, (which still stands today) with an incredible nine different scorers chalking up a goal, two red cards and an extra-time winner to seal what was a memorable 5-4 win to Sydney FC at Bluetongue Stadium.
Playing in front of what was a record crowd of 17,514 the Mariners jumped to an early two goal lead through two familiar faces, Mile Jedinak and John Aloisi giving the home side a 2-0 advantage inside 15 minutes.
Jedinak unleashed a superb strike from distance from a free-kick with just two minutes on the clock, while Aloisi volleyed home from close range soon after to give the table-topping Mariners an early cushion.
However their delight quickly turned to despair as goalkeeper Danny Vukovic saw red from the referee for a deliberate handball outside his area.
Sydney seized their advantage when Ian Fyfe headed in his first goal for the Sky Blues, to ensure the sides were only separated by one goal at half time.
Cheered on by the travelling Cove supporters, the Sky Blues continued to attack after the break and were soon level after Terry McFlynn turned in an equaliser from close range. Following up a Tony Popovic header from a corner, the current Sydney FC Captain did remarkably well to turn and fire into the roof of the net.
Sydney FC had come from two goals down to beat the Mariners the last time the sides had met and it looked like history was about to repeat itself.
However Central Coast were the next to score, when Greg Owens converted from the penalty spot after Matt Simon was adjudged to have been fouled in the box just after the hour mark.
The Sky Blues weren-t behind for long though when Adam Biddle, in one of his few appearances for Sydney FC, raced onto a through ball, beat his defender and calmly slotted a neat finish past substitute keeper Matthew Trott to tie things up at 3-apiece.
Brendon Santalab was the next player to find himself on the scoresheet with an exquisite individual effort from outside the box. The striker plucked a clearance out of the air with a neat touch before firing a first-time volley into the back of the net to restore Sydney-s lead. It was his first goal for the Sky Blues and would have been a worthy match winner.
However the home side, despite playing the majority of the match with 10-men, weren-t done yet and a set piece provided the platform for yet another equaliser. The ball was floated into the area and a flick on from Jedinak found Adam Kwasnik, who found a way through a sea of bodies to send the Mariners faithful into raptures. As the commentators said this match was “defying all football logic.”
With extra time counting down perhaps a share of the spoils would have been a fair result but the football gods still had one more surprise install for this remarkable game. Unfortunately for Adam Kwasnik he went from hero to villain when he was red carded, reducing the Mariners to nine men and giving away a penalty in the process.
With what would be the last kick of the game, Ufuk Talay stepped up for the visitors to try snatch all three points at the death. Despite guessing the right way, goalkeeper Matt Trott was unable to keep out the assured spot kick, which thumped into the side netting giving Sydney FC the 5-4 win and sending the Sky Blues into delirium and back into the top-four.
This match had been postponed due to inclement weather - another first ever occurrence for the Hyundai A-League associated with this game but as you will see from the highlights reel was definitely worth the wait and a classic!