The right team won. Adelaide United were the best team in the A-League all season, and were clearly the best team in Sunday's A-League Grand Final, as the hosts beat the Western Sydney Wanderers 3-1 at a packed Adelaide Oval.
Adelaide is now the sixth club to claim the A-League trophy in the competition's 11 seasons, while it was the Wanderers' third grand final loss in four seasons. They are yet to win the title.
This was a brilliant decider which showcased everything that's good about Australian football. In an A-League season marred by a virtual civil war earlier in the season, it was finally all about the football.
And what football. Finals can be tense, lifeless affairs with both teams more scared of conceding goals than scoring them. But this was an attractive match from the outset, especially for the Adelaide fans.
Kenyan-born 21-year-old Bruce Kamau opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, sneaking in behind the defence to slam home a piercing cross from Argentine Marcelo Carrusca.
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Twelve minutes later, Spaniard Isaías Sánchez Cortés -- who is known simply as Isaias -- then curled in a beautiful free kick. Wanderers goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne never moved. This was precision and beauty in one ruthless package.
Isaias fittingly went on to win the Joe Marston Medal for best player in the grand final.
Adelaide had lost just one of their last 20 A-League matches and were clearly the red hot team coming into the grand final. But the Wanderers were also in top form. They had concocted a football miracle, overturning a 3-0 deficit to beat the Brisbane Roar 5-4 in the semi final last week.
You knew they'd fight hard, and fight hard they did, striking back to make it 2-1 in the 58th minute with a well-taken Scott Neville goal.
But there was to be no repeat of the previous week's theatrics. The Wanderers played a huge part in making this a great spectacle -- and an even better advertisement for the ever-improving domestic game -- but they weren't quite good enough. The final goal came from a defensive error in the desperate final few minutes. And that was that. Adelaide United FC 3, Western Sydney Wanderers 1.
"What a team, there's something special about this group," said Adelaide forward Bruce Djite. He'd know. The 29-year-old has spent nine seasons in two separate stints at this club. This team is united in every sense of the word. And now they're richly deserved A-League champions.
And it's party time in Adelaide.Suggest a correction