The last game of the season has arrived for Melbourne City to be crowned premier.
The second was much more difficult than the first that Melbourne City Premiership-winning manager Patrick Kisnorbo had to praise the resilience and attitude of his players, having secured the A-League premier’s plates twice.
Needing to beat Wellington Phoenix in their final game of the regular season on Monday night, City won 2-1 and then reveled in the festivities after a season where the challenges came thick and fast.
The victory brought Kisnorbo’s teams back to the top of the table, beating city rivals Melbourne Victory at Premier’s Plate and securing a straight trip to the semi-finals.
Kisnorbo described winning the pot for the second consecutive season as the culmination of “nine months” of excitement and hard work for his positions, after a season of constant hiatus.
“It’s a build-up of emotion just to say you know what, we did something we set out to do,” Kisnorbo said.
“It’s all thanks to the players, we had to overcome adversity and maybe overcome some public criticism, overcome Covid, injuries, we had to overcome a lot.
“So it all depends on the team and their desire to keep working and pushing and that’s what we’ve done.
Kisnorbo’s squad, like all teams in the league, has faced a season of upheaval, including a summer interrupted by Covid that led to a string of postponed games, brief turnarounds and a string of injuries.
However, City also had to contend with the loss of key individuals to international duty along with an Asian Champions League campaign right in the middle of their run to the Pot.
“I think it’s been a great year excluding the finals,” said Kisnorbo.
“Obviously what we had to deal with and not just us, but many clubs, consecutive matches and you put yourself in situations where we have never been put before due to the Covid situation.
“We had to play with nine players out, we had national teams, we had people with injuries.
“(We played) three games a week. It’s something no one has ever dealt with in this competition.
“The amount of constraint we have subjected to the players, the credit goes to them because not only physically they did well, but mentally”.
Meanwhile, Phoenix boss Ufuk Talay believes his side’s second-half improvement was a good set-up for the elimination final against Western United on Saturday.
“Following the second half performance, I feel positive, not so much in the first half,” said Talay.
“Taking from two set pieces is disappointing. To be honest, two exactly the same set pieces. But in the second half we changed things and the guys came out with an answer, so for us it was a positive second half.
“It was good to play a second half against Melbourne City like we did. It was pretty close to the football finals. “
A LEAGUE FINAL
Match A: Western United (third) v Wellington Phoenix (sixth), Saturday May 14, AAMI Park, 7.45pm
Match B: Adelaide United (fourth) v Central Coast Mariners (fifth), Sunday May 15, Coopers Stadium, 4:05 pm
* Winning match A v City or Victory, 17/18 May
* City or Victory v Match A Winner, May 21st
* Winning Match B against City or Victory, May 18th
* City or match Victory vs Winner B, 22nd May
Saturday 28 May, 7:45 pm
Originally published as Melbourne City secured consecutive A League Premiers plaques