Can you name the previous two winners of the Australia Cup? Hint: they’ll be fighting for survival in the upcoming playoffs. The reversal of…
Just five games into his managerial career Dwight Yorke has claimed his first piece of silverware, lifting the Australia Cup after his Macarthur FC side ground out a 2-0 win over Sydney United 58.
The Bulls ended NPL underdog United’ss hopes of becoming the first non-A-League side to claim the Australia Cup, a pair of penalties seeing the Bulls claim glory after just two years in the top-flight competition.
Daniel Arzani starred for the victors, who took the lead through an Al Hassan Toure penalty but were unable to shake a gutsy Sydney United outfit, whose fans turned out in force hoping for their team to make history.
A second penalty from captain Ulises Davila finally sealed the result, the win earning Macarthur their first Australia Cup title, and first piece of silverware after just two seasons in the A-League.
The win also ensures the Bulls will take their place in the 2023/24 AFC Cup.
The Bulls had plenty to overcome at Sydney’s CommBank Stadium, not least a boisterous crowd of 16,461 which was dominated by United’s fans displaying Croatian flags.
Around 3000 United supporters marched down Parramatta’s Victoria Road before the match, with flares and banners generating an electric atmosphere from kick-off.
The crowd were then at the centre of disappointing scenes before kick-off, nearly drowning out the Welcome to Country with loud cheering and later booing.
Part-timers United, who became the first NPL team to reach the cup final, beating ALM sides Brisbane Roar and Western United en route, were buoyed by the backing and were up for the fight.
That filtered through to the pitch when a push-and-shove erupted over United’s treatment of Macarthur winger Daniel Arzani.
The six-cap Socceroo was a class above, causing United countless problems down the left flank until being taken off with 15 minutes to go.
A 14th-minute Arzani corner found the head of Jonathan Aspropotamitis and were it not for the reflexes of United goalkeeper Danijel Nizic the Bulls would have taken an early lead.
The Bulls continued to press forward and got their reward when Davila was brought down inside the box following a clumsy challenge from United defender Anthony Tomelic.
Toure converted from the spot and was greeted with projectiles from the United fans as he ran towards their end cupping his ears in celebration.
United pushed forward but could not fashion an equaliser no matter how hard they tried, Chris Payne taking a touch too many when they countered Macarthur.
Striker Patrick Antelmi, who had perhaps the best chance of the night, could only cushion a header into the hands of Bulls goalkeeper Filip Kurto.
The Bulls, who went close through Lachlan Rose in the second half, eventually got their second when substitute Craig Noone was felled in the United box and Davila wrapped up the result in the 90th minute with a well-taken penalty.