Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

A-League: Sydney FC claim Minor Premiership

Posted in Asian Football, Oceania Football by peterbein on February 14, 2010
Hyundai A League logo

The Hyundai A-League regular season went down to the wire.

Australia’s Hyundai A-League concluded its regular season stage today with a dramatic 2-0 victory for Sydney FC in their home clash against rivals Melbourne Victory. This win allowed Sydney to overtake their opponents in the table and claim the Minor Premiers tag by just a solitary point before they compete in a two-legged Play-Off fixture against the same opponents to see which team qualifies for the Grand Final on March 20th.

Champions Melbourne Victory went into the game confident that they could get the point they needed to secure the Minor Premiership for a second successive year having lost just one of their last four league games. Sydney FC had laboured a 3-2 home win in their previous match against Perth Glory with Marquee player John Aloisi scoring the winning goal three minutes from full-time. It was thanks to those three points that this winner-takes-all fixture was able to conclude the Regular Season in such fascinating style.

An expectant crowd of 25,000 attended the game in Sydney Football Stadium and the home fans were to be the ones celebrating come the end of the match as goals from Karol Kisel (34th minute) and John Aloisi (49th minute) gave the Sky Blues the win they needed to top the table. Sydney finished the Regular Season stage with 48 points from 27 games, Melbourne finishing just one point further behind. But the win meant more than just the chance to have the best possible draw in the Play-Off stage, which start next week, it also secured Sydney FC a place in the 2011 AFC Champions League. For Melbourne, though, all is not lost as the two-time Australian champion can gain instant revenge on Sydney FC in the next few weeks, their two-leg Play-Off tie could also potentially be followed by a Grand Final between the two sides to decide the overall championship.

However there will be four more teams in the Play-Offs who will want to claim the Hyundai A-League title. Gold Coast United, an expansion team who only joined the league this season, finished their maiden campaign in a very respectable third place four points behind Sydney FC. This happened despite going down to a 2-1 defeat on Matchday 27 away to the other expansion club North Queensland Fury, whose efforts to qualify for the Play-Offs fell just short. Despite having legendary ex-Liverpool FC player Robbie Fowler in their ranks the Fury ended up two points behind sixth-placed Newcastle Jets, who knew in any case that they were Play-Off bound despite losing their Matchday 27 fixture to wooden spoonists Adelaide United 2-1 (29 points from 27 games). The Jets have an away draw against Gold Coast when the Play-Offs start next weekend. New Zealand’s sole representatives Wellington Phoenix have had a good season, so far, finishing in fourth place which was secured by a 3-0 home win against the Central Coast Mariners. Phoenix will meet fifth-placed Perth Glory in the Play-Offs as the latter managed to finish their Regular Season in fifth-place with a 2-0 win over Brisbane Roar.

HYUNDAI A-LEAGUE PLAY-OFFS

18.02.2010 Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC (Game 1)

Date TBA* Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory (Game 2)

Winners over two legs go straight to the Grand Final, losers play in Preliminary Final

20.02.2010 Gold Coast United v Newcastle Jets (Game 3)

21.02.2010 Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory (Game 4)

Winners of these two games through to the next round, losers eliminated

Date TBA Winner Game 3 v Winner Game 4 (Game 5)

Winner of this game through to next round, loser eliminated

PRELIMINARY FINAL

Date TBA Winner Game 5 v Loser Game 1/2 (Game 6)

Winner through to Grand Final, loser eliminated

GRAND FINAL

20.03.2010 Winner Game 1/2 v Winner Game 6 (kick-off 19:00 local time)

Winner is declared Hyundai A-League champions 2009-10

* TBA – To be announced

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