Sydney FC have claimed victory in one of the longest games in A-League Men history, downing Perth Glory in a 3-2 win that took almost four hours to complete due to thunderstorms.
Ufuk Talay’s first home win as Sydney boss will live long in the memory after lightning strikes surrounding Allianz Stadium on Saturday caused lengthy delays.
Sydney were 2-0 up when the two sides went into the changing rooms at halftime just after 8.30pm local time.
The second-half restart was initially delayed by 15 minutes but that continued to be pushed back due to the storm.
Eventually, play resumed at 10.30pm with referee Alireza Faghani blowing fulltime at 11.20pm to bring an end to a marathon match which lasted three hours 35 minutes in total.
Only a Macarthur-Newcastle game earlier this year, which took four hours to complete due to high winds, has gone on longer in ALM history.
While fans headed for the exits, the majority stayed to see if Sydney could build on their first-half lead which came courtesy of goals from Joe Lolley and Robert Mak.
If the match had been abandoned at halftime, the result would have stood in Sydney’s favour.
“I experienced that kind of thing in Asia with the junior national teams and we waited for a game to kick off for two hours,” Talay said.
“It’s out of our control, it’s not ideal for both teams.
“The time kept changing when we were trying to get ready but we should really have killed the game off (early in the second half).”
Glory, who haven’t won away in their last 14 games, began with promise as Adam Taggart hit the post and Luke Ivanovic had a couple of opportunities to put Alen Stajcic’s men ahead in the opening quarter of an hour.
“I thought we should have been two or three up after 20 minutes and we were on top and didn’t take our opportunities,” Stajcic said.
“We lost total control in transition and got severely punished.”
Sydney made them pay for their wastefulness with Lolley firing past Cameron Cook with a well-cushioned curling shot to put the home side ahead in the 33rd minute.
Mak followed that up just before halftime when he drove through the heart of the Perth defence to tuck home and double the Sky Blues’ advantage.
After the lengthy delay, Sydney responded with intent, Lolley and Patrick Wood both going close to putting the game to bed.
Taggart found the net in the 63rd minute and the away side could well have clawed their way back level only for Aleksandar Susjnar to turn a Mitch Glasson effort back into his own net late in the game.
Oli Bozanic got one back for Perth from a free-kick in added time but it was all too little too late as Sydney walked away with the three points.