Penalty Shocker: The Sad Moment Perth Lost The A-League Grand Final
With the final kick of his career, this Perth player did not exactly cover himself in glory.
The A-League Grand Final -- which Sydney FC won over Perth Glory after scores were deadlocked 0-0 after both regulation and extra time -- was not one of football's great showpieces. That's a shame as the season has been a ripper.
The decisive moment of the unexpectedly dour season finale?
It SHOULD have been in the 28th minute of the first half when Sydney FC appeared to score, but the goal was disallowed as the ref ruled offside.
Replays subsequently showed all Sydney players were onside, but the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) mystifyingly let the decision stand, leaving pretty much everyone to ask what the point of having a VAR is.
Instead, the moment that sealed Perth's fate was when experienced campaigner Brendon Santalab stepped up and tried what they call a "Panenka".
That's a penalty kick -- named after the 1970s Czech star Antonin Panenka, who first used it -- where you don't aim left or right, but straight at the keeper, in the expectation that the keeper will dive left or right.
It looks beautiful when it works. And when it doesn't?
It looked like a fourth A-League title for Sydney FC, that's what. It also looked like bitter disappointment for the 56,000 strong Perth crowd, who packed out the new Optus Stadium for the largest ever A-League Grand Final crowd.
And above all, it looked pretty embarrassing for poor old Brendon Santalab, who chipped it straight to Sydney FC keeper Andrew Redmayne.
This moment will be doubly sad for the 36-year-old Wollongong product as he is retiring. So this was actually the last kick of an otherwise excellent career in which he played professional football in five countries.
So it goes sometimes in sport.
For Perth Glory, the disappointment will be magnified by the fact they were runaway winners of the Premier's Plate this year, finishing eight points clear of Sydney FC after the regular season.
But the Sky Blues are finals specialists. They've now won three penalty shootouts in A-League Grand Finals, and they've done that by playing it safe -- not trying to be too cute.