Brisbane Roar were aiming for its first piece of men’s silverware since 2014, and its first Australia Cup, as the side traveled to face Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium in the Australia Cup final.
The hosts were keen on spoiling the occasion, and were successful in doing so, coming from behind to win 3-1. It’s the second time the Sky Blues have lifted the trophy, first winning it in 2017.
The visitors would get off to the dream start as Thomas Waddingham would capitalise on a failed Sydney FC clearance, cleaning up the scraps with a powerful strike from yards out 18 minutes into the match.
Despite a multitude of chances, the hosts would struggle to capitalise on the offence they created.
Henry Hore would be on the receiving end of a brutal collision late in the first half, which would see Jake Girdwood-Reich receive a yellow card after Hore copped an elbow to the head.
With tempers beginning to flare, Sydney would head into the break scoreless, despite two good opportunities to end the half.
They would get its best chance of the match early in the second half, after a clearance from Luke Brattan found Joe Lolley in open space while being offside. The assistant referee kept the flag down however, as a Scott Neville shot went out for a corner.
Both teams had opportunities to score the second goal of the match but failed to capitalise.
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Sydney would finally equalise in the 66th minute, after their new number 9, Fabio Gomes, converted from the spot.
The penalty seemed to do the trick for the home side, who would take the lead in the 72nd minute. Robert Mark slotted it home after a cross from eventual Mark Viduka Medal winner, Joe Loelly.
With the hosts in full control, Gomes would score his second after it was initially flagged for offside in stoppage time, making it 3-1.
After coming from behind, Sydney would lift the trophy, winning the Australia Cup for the second time and a return to continental football.
Brisbane Roar coach Ross Aloisi was “extremely proud and happy” with their first half, but said that his side need to play more boldly.
“The players in that first half were outstanding and it’s just disappointing we didn’t get more out of this game,” he said.
“They were good, they were very good, Sydney, in the second half, but also, we need to be braver like we were in the first half for the beginning of that second.”
Lolley spoke post-game about being awarded the Mark Viduka medal and said that the award is a testament to the hard work he has put in.
“[It’s] really good. I’ve been working really hard on the training ground, off the training ground, and making sure I’m doing the right thing,” he said.
“I feel like it’s a reward for that consistency I’ve been putting in.”
For Steve Corica, it marked his fourth piece of silverware as coach, with two Grand Final wins and a premiership since taking over in 2018.
He was happy to win the one trophy which had eluded him as coach of the Sky Blues.
“I’m very happy to have all the trophies now, but for me it’s more important for the way the boys responded at half time, the way they played in the second half,” he said.
“They deserved all the reward for that.”
Sydney FC qualified for the AFC Cup with the victory, marking its return to continental football for the first time since bowing out in the group stages of the 2020 edition.
“The club wants to be playing in Asia, obviously we want to be playing in the Champions League, so to do that we have to win, I think it’s the league, so that’s obviously our goal this season,” Corica said.
“It’ll be nice to be back there next year.”