Get on and make an impact. That’s usually the basic message given to substitutes. And two of Sydney FC’s Hyundai A-League grand final heroes can safely say they did that on Sunday night.
CARNEY’S CRUCIAL CONTRIBUTION
At 1-0 down, former Caltex Socceroo David Carney was introduced on the hour mark and ten minutes later made a crucial contribution.
His fierce shot was parried by Lawrence Thomas before Rhyan Grant tapped in the rebound for the equalising goal.
Carney revealed he wasn’t given any specific instructions from Graham Arnold.
“Just basically do what I do and try and create something,” he told [www.a-league.com.au]www.a-league.com.au at the Sky Blues’ victory party in downtown Sydney.
“Arnie likes to throw me on, especially on the right.
“I knew I could make an impact and thankfully I did enough to get us that goal.
“Maybe it was a game for the substitutes – even Simmo (Matt Simon) came on and did extremely well.
“We got what we deserved at the end,” said Carney.
Simon took to the field from the reserves bench for the 25 th time this season, late in regulation time.
His tireless running and closing down of defenders kept the pressure on Victory right until the end of extra-time.
“I was just happy to make a little bit of an impact,” said Simon, who finally won a Hyundai A-League championship in his third grand final.
“All year it’s been like that – to come on and make an impact for the team.
“I just love being part of the squad and [doing] whatever role is asked of me.
“I’m just so happy for the boys.
“The amount of work we put in all year – we set our goals at the start of the season and for all that to come true and to achieve what we wanted is very special,” he said.
CARNEY’S PRAISE FOR VICTORY PHYSICALITY
And Carney commended the approach of Melbourne Victory, who came out strongly in Sunday’s decider.
“You could tell in the first five minutes that Kevin Muscat had them fired up to win the battle,” said Carney.
“But that can only last so long.
“We probably dominated the second half.
“Extra-time was hard – a lot of the lads were cramping but we held our nerve in the penalty shoot-out.
“We would have liked to have won it earlier, but we won it – that’s the main thing,” he smiled.