A-League grand final: Melbourne Victory beat Newcastle Jets 1-0 to win fourth championship
Melbourne Victory have broken the hearts of the Jets and their legion of fans by claiming the A-League championship with a 1-0 win in the grand final in Newcastle.
A ninth-minute goal to Kosta Barbarouses in front of a boisterous crowd of 29,410 was enough for the Victory to deny the Jets following their fairytale run to the season decider.
The grand final triumph gave the Victory their fourth championship, moving them in front of Sydney FC as the most successful club in A-League history.
Besart Berisha (R) heads towards the turf after being tackled by Nigel Boogaard. (AAP: Dan Himbrechts)
The Victory silenced the Newcastle faithful early in the first half when Barbarouses scored.
Leroy George had sent in a free kick, which was headed down by Jamie Donachie amid congestion at the far post into the direction of Barbarouses.
Barbarouses made no mistake with his left-foot strike, although the VAR will come under scrutiny once again as replays suggested Donachie was offside in the lead-up to the goal.
It was a letdown for the Jets but it did not show, as they were soon on attack down the opposite end of the field.
Roy O’Donovan came close to an equaliser in the 16th minute but excellent goalkeeping from Lawrence Thomas, who deservedly claimed the Joe Marston Medal as player of the match, kept the Jets at bay.
It was not the only occasion Thomas was called into play, with the Victory keeper showing cool nerves when he brilliantly saved a strike from Riley McGree before quickly getting back to his feet to fend away the follow-up effort from Jason Hoffman.
The Jets’ chances on goal came as they enjoyed a mammoth 66 per cent of possession in the first half, contrasting the Victory who had made the most of their limited chances.
George had proven to be a menace for the visitors down the left flank during the opening term, with the Dutchman drawing a superb save from the Jets’ Glen Moss when he threatened close to the penalty area.
The second half saw the Victory enjoy the better of the attacking opportunities, but neither side able to find the back of the net.
Daniel Georgievski (R) of the Jets competes for possession with the Victory’s James Troisi. (AAP: Dan Himbrechts)
The match ended on a sour note when O’Donovan was handed a red card during time added on.
Dimitri Petratos had fired in a free kick when O’Donovan’s right boot hit the advancing Thomas in the head, with referee Jarred Gillett showing no hesitation in sending the Jet from the field.
The Jets had been hoping to win their second A-League championship 10 years after their maiden title.
More to come.