Victory stalwart reflects on crazy Semi-Final win over Sydney FC
Melbourne Victory veteran Leigh Broxham admitted he’s never experienced a match quite like Saturday night’s absorbing extra-time win over Sydney FC.
Victory progressed to the Hyundai A-League Grand Final following a drama-filled 3-2 win over the Sky Blues in the Semi-Final at Allianz Stadium.
After coming from a goal down midway through the first half, James Troisi’s strike early in the second half appeared enough to send Victory into the decider as they lead 2-1 deep into stoppage time.
But a horror own-goal from ex-Sydney midfielder Terry Antonis in the dying seconds levelled the scores at 2-2 and forced the game into extra time.
But remarkably, with less than five minutes remaining, Antonis went from villain-to-hero by netting a superb individual goal to fire Kevin Muscat’s side into the decider.
And Broxham, a veteran of more than 250 A-League games, conceded he’s not been involved in a match with that level of drama and intensity.
“I’ve been around a while and I haven’t played in a game like that,” Broxham told reporters on Tuesday.
“I’ve played in extra-time games, penalties, but I think the way we conceded in the last second of regular time and then winning towards the end of extra-time is something I haven’t experienced before.
“There were a lot of emotions because you win a game but you’ve got another game to play. We enjoyed the night for a few hours after and then we had to shift our focus pretty quickly.
“It’s got to be up there [as a highlight]. As a team it’s got to be up there.
“I’ve had some personal highlights along the way but I think as a team it’s got to be up there as one of the craziest and most entertaining games that I’ve played in.”
Victory now switch their attention to Saturday’s Grand Final in Newcastle as they face a Jets outfit in front of a sold-out McDonald Jones Stadium.
The Big V have struggled in the Hunter in the past and lost both meetings in Newcastle this season (4-1 in November) and (2-0 in February).
While acknowledging his side’s previous failures, Broxham believes Victory will relish the challenge in front of a record crowd in Newcastle.
“It is a hard place to go to. Obviously our record speaks for itself,” Broxham said.
“But finals are finals. They are one-off games and I don’t think anyone needs any motivation for it.
“They’ve got to be up for it, they’ve got to be ready to go and no doubt they (Newcastle) will be as well which will make it that bit more difficult.
“This is where we want to be. I’m looking forward to playing there to be honest. The stadium is boutique, it’s perfect and I think it’ll be an amazing atmosphere.
“As a player that’s something you want to play in.”