Melbourne City has secured the A-League premiership after dramatically defeating Central Coast Mariners 1-0 on Saturday night.
- Melbourne City claimed its first A-League premiership title
- Their win was not without drama, with Mariners coach Alen Stajcic given a yellow card following a VAR decision
- City reached the grand final last season, losing to Sydney FC in the championship decider
It is City’s first A-League trophy in its 11-year history.
The three points from the win took City 10 clear of second-placed Sydney FC with just three games remaining in the regular season.
Immense throughout the contest, Craig Noone delivered what proved to be the game’s lone goal when he rose over defender Lewis Miller to head home an Adrian Luna cross beyond keeper Mark Birighitti in the 59th minute.
Mariners players protested furiously that Miller had been fouled by Noone, only for VAR to clear the Englishman of any wrongdoing. Their coach Alen Stajcic was shown a yellow card for his protests.
In dramatic scenes, the Mariners thought they had earned a chance to tie the game in second-half added-time when referee Shaun Evans adjudged Aiden O’Neill to have dragged down Birighitti — who had come up from his penalty area in a desperate search for a leveller — as a corner was swung in.
But a VAR review led to Evans overturning his initial decision, handing City a maiden premiership.
City’s previous best A-League finish on the ladder was second in 2019/20, a season that ultimately cultivated in a grand final defeat to premiers Sydney FC. They are now guaranteed to host this year’s decider should they qualify.
With three games remaining on their schedule, the Mariners remain in a dogfight for a space in the top six. They are now just five points clear of seventh-place Wellington Phoenix.
The Mariners next travel to face Macarthur FC on Thursday night.