This Sunday features plenty of soccer madness, but let’s first talk about how the day began: with the A-League final. Australia’s league title was decided in Brisbane, with local side Brisbane Roar emerging victorious, defeating Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1 in extra time.
Like MLS, the A-League title is decided via playoffs, with the six highest-placed sides entering the Finals Series. The two highest-placed sides receive a bye until the semi-finals, when they enter the competition. This year that was the two finalists, with the Roar finishing first, Wanderers second.
It looked like the Grand Final was going to be won by the league’s second-placed side, with Matthew Špiranović putting the visitors ahead in the 56th minute, heading in Shinji Ono’s corner.
But Brisbane, cheered on by a crowd of over 50, 000 (although we have to assume some of those were fans of Western Sydney), came roaring back in the 86th minute. Besart Berisha headed in a free kick from Thomas Broich, prompting four minutes of scrambling as both sides tried to find the winner before regular time finished.
With no decisive goal, the match headed into an extra thirty minutes of time. Both sides had their chances, but in the end it was Brisbane forward Henrique who knocked in the winner. The Brazilian, left alone inside the area, pounced, driving his shot into the roof of the net.
The title is the third for Brisbane Roar in the last four years (they came up short in 2013). Meanwhile, Western Sydney has lost the last two Grand Finals – while only existing for the last two years.