MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Sydney FC will bid to cap the most dominant season in the history of the A-League after reaching the championship decider with an emphatic 3-0 win over Perth Glory on Saturday.
The Sky Blues will fight at home for their third title against Melbourne Victory or Brisbane Roar next week after first half goals from Josh Brillante, Jordy Buijs and Slovakia striker Filip Holosko sealed the win at Sydney Football Stadium.
Although a deserving victory for the competition’s stand-out team, the game was tinged with controversy and both Buijs’s and Holosko’s goals were awarded after video reviews.
Glory coach Kenny Lowe was enraged when Buijs’s 37th minute score was confirmed and the Briton protested that his defender Dino Djulbic had been blocked illegally as the Dutchman struck from close range to put the hosts 2-0 up.
Holosko’s headed goal in first half stoppage time was more clear-cut, the video referee overturning an incorrect offside decision.
“It’s been a fantastic year,” said Sydney captain Alex Brosque.
”We wanted to make a bit of a statement tonight with the way we came out.
“We scored three great goals, it sets up a home grand final next week which is fantastic for the fans.”
The pitch, regularly used for top flight rugby league, was in no condition for soccer but the hosts thrived in the conditions.
After taking time to settle, they clicked into gear in the 21st minute when midfielder Brillante found space outside the area, wound up and fired in a stunning long-range strike into the top left corner.
From there, Glory were under siege as waves of Sydney attackers streamed forward to wrap the match up before half-time.
Graham Arnold’s Sydney have already claimed the Premier’s Plate as the regular season winners, tallying a record 66 points from the 27-game campaign and they will head into the final as raging favourites.
“Outstanding,” Arnold, who guided Central Coast Mariners to the 2012/13 A-League title, said.
“Overall we could have won by more.”
Melbourne Victory host fellow three-times champions Brisbane Roar in the second semi-final on Sunday
Editing by Pritha Sarkar