Melbourne Victory's success completes season
YOU would hardly have thought Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory could not have been split with three previous draws, going into the A-League grand final at AAMI Park.
That was because the Victory was so dominant over its fierce rivals in the championship decider, in front at almost every contest from the first whistle to the last, before comprehensively taking the game 3-0.
Perennial grand-final hero Besart Berisha was once again the toast of Australian football, his goal in the 34th minute seeing the Victory build on its early momentum.
"We deserved to win the grand final because we were the premiers, and now the champions. This is unbelievable - if this is not the best club in Australia, then I don't know," Berisha - a two-time champion with Brisbane and now the Victory - told his adoring fans through Fox Sports.
It was the Victory's third Australian championship, avenging its 2010 loss to the Sky Blues, with Berisha, Kosta Barbarouses and Leigh Broxham the scorers for the Melbourne glamour club.
It wasn't such a memorable occasion for Sky Blues defender Nikola Petkovic, despite it being his 200th senior club appearance.
Brilliant New Zealand international midfielder Barbarouses caused him nightmares all game.
It was Petkovic's poor clearance that led to the Victory's first goal, after Barbarouses linked up with Berisha.
The fiery Albanian launched a sweetly-timed left-foot shot past the despairing attempts at tackle from Seb Ryall and Rhyan Grant, to give the hosts the lead in front of their deafening home fans in the 34th minute.
Ryall, at that point, had been moved to the centre of the defence, after the visitors suffered the cruel blow of losing star import and defender Jacques Faty.
Faty left the field in tears after his hamstring went in the 18th minute, while his team was under immense pressure, and with his absence Sydney's day went from bad to worse.
It was near impossible for the Sky Blues to quell the momentum after Berisha's goal - who has now found the back of the net four times in all three of his victorious grand finals.
Barbarouses deservedly scored to give his team a two-goal buffer in the 83rd minute, dinking a shot over the scrambling Sky Blues defenders after a clever one-two with Fahid Ben Khalfallah.
Then Broxham joined the party with a lung-busting run forward to latch on to a Ben Khalfallah ball, and thread it past Sydney goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic in the dying minutes.
The Victory won its first Australian title with a 6-0 thrashing over Adelaide United back in 2007.
But it can be argued the team was even more dominant in this display, in what could well have been the best performance in a grand final in the A-League's 10-year history.
(Berisha 33, Barbarouses 83, Broxham 90)
Sky Blues 0
Crowd: 29,843 at AAMI Park.