AS a defender for Sydney FC Rhyan Grant does not score a lot of goals, so finding the back of the net in Sunday’s A-League grand final is a moment he will long remember.
Grant’s 69th minute tap in squared the match against Melbourne Victory at 1-all, Sydney FC then going on to clinch the crown with a 4-2 penalty shoot-out result.
The goal, his fourth of the season, cancelled out Besart Berisha’s 20th minute strike for Victory.
“Just a tap in, but I’ll take it. It was great timing, we needed to get a goal obviously and for it to fall right on the goal line for me, it was hard to miss,” Grant, who slotted home after David Carney’s effort was parried into post and rolled along the line, told ABC Radio.
“It was great moment and great celebrating in front of a packed house with Sydney FC.”
The win capped off an amazing season for Grant.
He not only won the grand final with Sydney FC, but the premiers plate as the sky blues finished 17 points clear of Victory after the regular home and away season.
Grant’s form for Sydney FC, who lost just one game on the way to glory, saw him named in both the Professional Footballers Australia Team of the Year and the Socceroos squad.
Sunday’s match at Allianz Stadium was Grant’s second appearance in an A-League grand final, having been part of the Sydney FC outfit which lost 3-0 to Victory in season 2014-15. The talented defender, who had the job of containing Fahid Ben Khalfallah, also pushed forwards down the right flank during the contest to try and create chances for his team-mates.
He finished with more touches than any other player – 118 – made five tackles, three clearances, five intercepts, five crosses and won 14 duels across the 120 minutes.
With the scores locked at 1-all at the end of regulation time and 30 minutes of extra-time failing to provide another goal, a penalty shoot-out was required to decide the victor.
Grant stood arm-in-arm with his team-mates on halfway and watched it unfold, the winner coming from the boot of Milos Ninkovic.
“It’s just elation from the boys. Obviously we did it the hard way tonight, but we knew it was meant to be and it was always going to come down to the man himself, Ninko, and he’s just done it again,” Grant said.
“It’s [the atmosphere] freakish, we’ve got a great supporter base. The Cove and all the fans that have shown up, it’s just great to be here.”