Melbourne Victory reach Grand Final after Antonis' sensational redemption act stuns Sydney FC
Terry Antonis miraculously went from villain to hero as his emotional extra-time winner booked Melbourne Victory's place in the Grand Final with a dramatic 3-2 defeat of Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
The former Sky Blues midfielder had earlier revived his ex-employers' hopes of going back-to-back when he hacked the ball into his own net deep into stoppage time of the original 90 minutes.
But the 24-year-old picked himself up to make the difference late in extra-time and secure Victory an unprecedented sixth Grand Final berth as they now prepare to meet Newcastle Jets next weekend.
Sydney FC, who had earlier led in the first-half, exit one match shy of a shot at another trophy under outgoing coach Graham Arnold, losing a first Big Blue in eight meetings.
STORY OF THE GAME
- WOODWORK: Kosta Barbarouses gets the first real sight of goal in the 20th minute and slams a drive against the near post.
- GOAL! Sydney FC are ahead four minutes later courtesy of Nigro's own goal.
- GOAL! Victory quickly draw level as Barbarouses this time gets some luck.
- CHANCE: Troisi dallies over a good opening in the area and is harried out of it.
- CHANCE: Adrian Mierzejewski gets through for a one-on-one, but Lawrence Thomas stays big and bats away the dinked finish.
- GOAL! Troisi atones for his earlier wastefulness to put Victory ahead two minutes after the restart.
- SAVE: Thomas with a strong hand low down to his right to turn Josh Brillante's thumping effort around the post.
- CLOSE: Antonis unleashes a shot that fades marginally wide.
- DOUBLE SAVE: Brilliant from Thomas as he claws away Bobo's header and then recovers to block the follow-up from
- CHANCE: George breaks into the box, but shoots past the far post.
- CHANCES: INCREDIBLE! Ben Warland volleys against the crossbar and almost immediately after heads agonisingly wide of an equaliser.
- GOAL! IT'S IN! Sydney FC level DEEP into added time as Antonis turns the ball into his own net.
- SAVE: Another sharp save from Thomas, parrying Bobo's strike.
- SHOT: Christian Theoharous weaves into the area and shoots straight at Andrew Redmayne.
- GOAL! WHO ELSE? It had to be Antonis! He surges from halfway and buries the winner.
Stefan Nigro (OG), Sydney FC 24': 1-0
Mierzejewski's inswinging free-kick thumps into Nigro's chest and nestles in the bottom corner.
Kosta Barbarouses, Melbourne Victory 31': 1-1
Antonis releases Barbarouses into the left channel, he cuts back in on his right foot and fires a shot that deflects in off Jordy Buijs, wrong-footing Andrew Redmayne.
James Troisi, Melbourne Victory 47': 1-2
Barbarouses reels in Brillante's stray pass and slips the ball into Berisha's feet. Surrounded by Sydney FC defenders, the striker keeps his cool to squeeze a pass out to the far post for an unmarked Troisi to tap home.
Terry Antonis (OG), Sydney FC 90'+5: 2-2
Oh so cruel on Antonis. Thomas parries one golden chance for Bobo, Mierzejewski turns it back from the byline and the former Sydney FC midfielder somehow slices into his own net.
Terry Antonis, Melbourne Victory 117': 2-3
Pinned on the touchline at halfway, Antonis somehow we wriggles free. He dribbles all the way into the box and then drives in the winner via a deflection of Alex Wilkinson.