In what was an ?Away Game? of sorts for the former NSL powerhouse, the Final played on the Sharks picturesque playing surface at Seymour Shaw, Sydney Olympic clinched a morale boosting win after 120? minutes of football.
The Blues, suited up in their all white kits for this encounter, played the final 20? minutes of extra-time with ten-men, following the dismissal of Roger Galayini for a second yellow-card.
Despite the Sharks dominance of the clearer chances throughout the encounter, Olympic held their nerve and Chris Triantis delivered his side ? and supporters ? the winning goal.
A wonderful solo effort, where the Blues midfielder rounded three Sharks? defenders before slotting coolly past the helpless Phillip Zabaks in the Sharks goal.
The win puts an end to Sydney Olympic?s lean-spell of trophies won at senior level, the last notable honour arrived back in the 2002/03 NSL season, when Sydney Olympic clinched the Minor Premiership.
Following the match, Captain Mirko Jurilj applauded his side?s achievement and signalled what will be his side?s intent for the season:
?A big performance by all of the boys tonight, it was great.
?The team showed a lot of character to come back from a goal down in the first-half, especially considering it was conceded so early in the game.
?We have a good group also and each of the boys have stepped up in this pre-season, we?ll be looking to step it up even come the start of the season next weekend.?
The match kicked-off in typical Cup Final fashion, with both sides getting a feel for their opponents.
Sutherland Sharks Captain George Souris was lucky not to go into referee Kris Griffiths-Jones? book for a hard challenge from behind on Matthew Mayora in the 3? minute.
Mayora was not as lucky two minutes later when he was shown a yellow card for failing to keep the required distance from a Sydney Olympic free-kick.
Sutherland Sharks did take the lead, much to the delight of the larger contingent of supporters at the ground.
A cross from Jimmy Bakis on the right met an unmarked Brendan Gan in-front of Michael Herbert in the Sydney Olympic goal ? Gan slid in and directed his effort past Herbert.
Sydney Olympic?s response was instant ? though not clear cut ? as the tremendous possessional play between Anthony Doumanis and Marino Musumeci continued to force the Sharks on the back foot.
Despite the Blues’ possession in midfield, Brian Brown?s team was always a threat on the counter-attack. Shane Lyons and Brad Boardman combined for a clever one-two, setting the striker free on the left-flank before crossing into an empty penalty-area.
David Reid almost doubled the Sharks? lead in the 27? minute with another cross sent in by the very precise Jim Bakis.
Reid?s glancing header finished just wide of the mark.
Olympic responded through Matthew Mayora.
The tall striker used his strength well to hold the ball up throughout the encounter, and in the 34? minute with his back to goal, he used his big frame to shield the ball before unleashing a strong effort that finished just wide.
The closing stages of the half had Sydney Olympic finishing the stronger with some great possessional play, though ugly scenes did follow with a scuffle breaking out between both sets of players ? Jim Bakis the only player to be cautioned by the referee.
The Sharks? defence kept their opponents at bay, with a great defensive display led by captain George Souris and Pedj Bojic in the defensive third of the field.
Sydney Olympic continued to raise the tempo in the second-half, and despite a scare for the ?visitors? in the 49? minute when David Reid sent his snap-shot over the cross-bar, Milan Blagojevic?s men then drew level.
Shannon Cole?s quick feet on the left-flank saw the talented Olympic midfielder ? playing more as a left wing-back ? win a free-kick.
Cole?s floated effort into the penalty-area found the head of Emmanuel Giannaros who headed the ball into the back of the net.
The momentum shifted into Sydney Olympic?s favour and Shannon Cole had a free-kick cleared from the Sharks? defence one-minute later.
The clearance fell only as far as Chris Triantis who fired a long-range bomb that skimmed the cross-bar.
Sutherland created a good scoring chance in the 56? minute when Ben Spruce?s cross from the left was headed by Bakis into the path of Gan. The Sharks? goalscorer got his effort away, though Herbert was equal to the task, claiming the ball at the second attempt.
The Johnny Warren Cup Final match-winner, and player-of-the-match ? as voted by the media present at the ground – Chris Triantis was lucky to escape caution in an ugly off the ball incident with Shane Lyons.
In the collision with Lyons, Triantis seemed to make contact with his studs on the Sharks abdomen region, though Lyons was quick to get up and the incident was waved away.
Blagojevic introduced Peter Zorbas, with the dynamic Anthony Doumanis ? who played a strong first-half with a lot of finesse on the ball ? struggling with a groin injury.
Zorbas? introduction paid immediate reward as his marshalling of the midfield got Olympic on-top.
Zorbas had a long-range effort diverted by the defence for a corner, before Tirantis? attempt from outside the penalty-area only just skimmed the top of the cross-bar.
A serious head-clash between Matthew Mayora and Ben Spruce resulted in both players leaving the field for attention, before a final minute reflex save by Zabaks in the Sharks goal denied Iain Ramsay what would have been a 95? minute winner.
The referee brought an end to the regular ninety-minutes, the 2008 Johnny Warren Cup Final would be decided in extra-time.
The additional thirty-minutes provided sparks from both sides, though in terms of clear-cut opportunities inside the first period of extra-time, Ben Spruce came to the rescue of the Sharks.
A scramble inside the Sharks penalty-area saw the ball fall to Chris Triantis, Spruce though put his body on the line ? diving in-front of Triantis? effort and diverting the ball away from danger.
The breakthrough seemed to have arrived for the Sharks in the 10? minute of extra-time when a mazy run from Pedj Bojic was brought to an end by Roger Galayini ? the Olympic midfielder had aleady been cautioned and referee Griffiths-Jones had no choice but to issue the red card.
Despite the numerical inferiority, and the strong finish by the Sharks who dominated possession with the additional man, Sydney Olympic snatched victory in the 117? minute.
Triantis? solo effort, where he skipped past three Sharks defenders before slotting home comfortably past Phillip Zabaks, sealed the win and will certainly go down as one of the best goals of the season for his finesse and composure.
The Sydney Olympic bench was ecstatic ? and their supporters in raptures ? as Milan Blagojevic?s new group pulled off a remarkable win.
For the Sharks, who had gone through the group stage with three-wins from three matches, the loss was hard to swallow, though morale is high in anticipation of the TeleChoice Premier League set to kick-off next weekend.
Sharks captain George Souris signalled his side?s intent for the season ahead:
?We?ve had a great pre-season with some good results and we did well tonight.
?The team has played well and the boys should all be proud of their efforts.
?We?ll definitely move on from this, the new coaching staff has been great and we will certainly be in the Finals come the end of the Premier League season.?
Sutherland Sharks 1 (Brendan Gan 5′)
Sydney Olympic 2 (Emmanuel Giannaros 52′, Chris Triantis 117?)
Ground: Seymour Shaw
Referee: K. Griffiths-Jones
Assistant Referees: S. Ho, A. Flynn
Crowd: 2,000 approx.
Sutherland Sharks: 1. Phillip Zabaks, 15. Michael Katz, 4. Pedj Bojic, 2. George Souris, 11. Ben Spruce, 3. Brendan Gan, 6. Shane Lyons, 22. David Reid, 7. Jimmy Bakis, 8. David Huxley, 9. Brad Boardman.
Substitutions: 21. M. Brandisi, 20. Jim Lawrence, 16. Ben Price, 10. Matthew Hall, 5. Dave Abel
Yellow Cards: Brendan Gan 22?, Jim Bakis 41?
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney Olympic: 1. Michael Herbert, 12. Emmanuel Giannaros 16. Mirko Jurilj, 4 Michael Cindric, 14. Shannon Cole, 17 Iain Ramsay, 19. Marino Musumeci, 6. Roger Galayini, 9. Matthew Mayora, 8. Chris Triantis, 11 Anthony Doumanis
Substitutions: 5. Peter Zorbas, 3. Jin Kim, 7. Milorad Simonovic, 18. Nathan Sherlock, 2 Reuben Lagos
Yellow Cards: Matthew Mayora 5?, Roger Galayini 30?, Michael Cindric 79?
Red Cards: Roger Galayini 100?.
3 ? Chris Triantis (SO)
2 ? David Reid (SS)
1- Phillip Zabaks (SS)
– By Joseph Carlucci