Sydney FC head home as A-League champions
Sydney FC will take the A-League championship trophy home today after their stirring penalty shootout grand-final triumph over Perth Glory.
But it might have been oh-so easier for Steve Corica's men, who resented going the distance for their triumph.
The Sky Blues felt they were wronged by the refereeing team, having a perfectly reasonable goal ruled out for offside on the half-hour mark.
Alex Brosque slipped in Michael Zullo, who looked to beat the offside trap before his cross was diverted by Matt Spiranovic into the back of the net.
Both the linesman and the video assistant saw the full-back as offside; replays showed Zullo to be onside, or at the very least, worthy of advantage as the attacker.
"Obviously they made a bad decision there. Everyone could see it was onside and should been a goal," Corica said.
"It would have been a lot easier if it was. It put us through the wringer.
"I got a little bit frustrated with that decision, of course ... but I made sure the boys remained focused."
For Sydney FC, the result brought sweet relief after falling short of a championship they were expected to win last season.
Under Graham Arnold they bagged a second-straight premiership but weren't able to back up their championship after falling to Victory in the semi-final.
"We've done it a few times at Sydney to go to penalties or a couple of times and it does make it special," Corica said.
"When it goes the distance, our boys have the mentality, the character.
"There's a lot of pressure when it goes to penalties and, you know, the penalty takers tonight did a great job."
The result means Alex Brosque won a championship in his final A-League game but the 35-year-old insisted it wasn't about him; more about settling a score from last season.
"Last year when we won the premiership by as many points as we did ... we had one off night and didn't get the chance to defend it," Brosque said.
"We were written off at various sort stages throughout (this) year.
"We always had the belief we could come and do it ... that's the sweet feeling."
Corica said he hoped Milos Ninkovic's naming as the Joe Marston Medallist brought the Serbian greater recognition.
"He's the best marquee in Australia. Not (Diego) Castro. He is," Corica said.
"Castro, he's a top player as well but (Ninkovic) has won many trophies for this club. And he will continue to do so. He's a winner.
"He's brilliant. He's the best number 10 we've had at the club."
Sadly for Sydney FC, their season isn't quite done.
The Sky Blues face Kawasaki Frontale in a dead rubber Asian Champions League match on Tuesday, with many grand finalists surely to get the night off.
"We might be a little bit drunk," Corica laughed.