Grand Final preview: Sydney FC v Melbourne City
Then there were two. It will be first versus second in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final 2020 with the established standard-bearers, Sydney FC, meeting the new pretenders, Melbourne City.
Destiny awaits on Sunday, 30 August as the Sky Blues seek to become the unprecedented five-time Champions, while City aim to lift their maiden Hyundai A-League silverware to close out a record-setting campaign.
If the reigning holders, Sydney FC, can ensure the trophy stays in the Harbour City, they will become only the second club to defend a Championship title in the league's 15-year history – after Brisbane Roar in 2011 and 2012 – while Steve Corica will become the first head coach to be crowned on each of his first two seasons at the helm.
His opposite number, City's French coach Erick Mombaerts has guided his team to a long-awaited first ever Grand Final during his inaugural campaign in the dugout, breaking a streak of four Semi-Final losses in the club's nine seasons in the competition (including their time as Melbourne Heart).
The Bundoora-based side go into uncharted territory off the back of their best ever season, finishing second in the ladder for the first time and recording a club record of 47 points. The Victorian outfit arrived at the big dance following a 2-0 win over Western United in Wednesday's Semi-Final thanks to a penalty from Jamie Maclaren and an own goal from Tomoki Imai.
History beckoned for Corica as Sydney held a 13-point lead over second-placed City when the lockdown was lifted, but a run of one win in six games saw that margin shrink to six points in the final standings. However, the four-time Champions responded in style against Perth Glory in their Semi-Final, winning 2-0 with Milos Ninkovic and Adam Le Fondre on the scoresheet.
The sides split their regular season series, with Sydney claiming a 2-1 win back in Round 12 before City ran out 2-0 winners four weeks ago. We are in for one heck of a decider on Sunday, 30 August.
Hyundai A-League Grand Final 2020
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Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 2.Patrick FLOTTMANN, 3.Ben WARLAND, 4.Alex WILKINSON (c), 5.Alex BAUMJOHANN, 6.Ryan McGOWAN, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Paulo RETRE, 9.Adam LE FONDRE, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 16.Joel KING, 17.Anthony CACERES, 18.Luke IVANOVIC, 19.Chris ZUVELA, 20.Thomas HEWARD-BELLE (gk), 21.Harry VAN DER SAAG, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 26.Luke BRATTAN
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 7.Michael ZULLO (return from injury), 19.Chris ZUVELA (promoted).
Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Tom GLOVER (gk), 2.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Harrison DELBRIDGE, 6.Josh BRILLANTE, 7.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Florin BERENGUER, 11.Craig NOONE, 13.Nathaniel ATKINSON, 19.Lachlan WALES, 20.Adrian LUNA, 21.Ramy NAJJARINE, 22.Curtis GOOD, 30.Moudi NAJJAR, 34.Connor METCALFE, 35.Raphael BORGES RODRIGUES, 39.Idrus ABDULAHI, 40.Richard WINDBICHLER, 46.Joe GAUCI, 49.Stefan COLAKOVSKI
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 35.Raphael BORGES RODRIGUES (promoted), 39.Idrus ABDULAHI, (promoted)
Unavailable: 3.Scott JAMIESON (personal leave)