They are what the game is built on.
The outcome of a tense derby win or a euphoric title decider can be traced back to such moments, brief as they may be, where momentum shifted and the game was decided.
For fans watching the 2010 A-League Grand Final between Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC, Kevin Muscat’s penalty miss was as obvious as the ball striking the post that this was not going to end well for the Victory.
As significant as this was, it perhaps overshadows the biggest turning point of the game – this being Archie Thompson’s knee injury.
Thompson – who had scored 11 goals that season – went down clutching his knee and leaving head coach Ernie Merrick no choice but to replace his star striker just 16 minutes in.
”There were a few moments throughout the match, like when Archie went down injured, where as a player you look to as a guide that things will go your way,’’ Sydney FC legend Alex Brosque told FNR.
”When Archie went down injured, that was definitely one where I thought this could be our night but when Melbourne equalised late I thought maybe not. But for [Muscat’s] penalty to hit the post, it got me thinking that it could definitely be our night and I knew Clint Bolton had a save in him after that as well.’’
Bolton did have that save in him, denying Thompson’s substitute Marvin Angulo before Byun Sung-hwan clinched Sydney FC’s second A-League championship.
In addition to denying the Victory back-to-back championships, the Sky Blues became just the second side to win a Grand Final away from home – two seasons after the Newcastle Jets upset the Central Coast Mariners in Gosford.
”In the Grand Final we played a couple of years ago in Sydney, [Graham Arnold] made a point of making sure we got a home Grand Final,’’ Brosque said.
”He listed the amount of times a team had won a Grand Final away from home and it wasn’t many at all. I remember, especially how the semi-finals went against Melbourne, we were going to be up against there. I can’t believe it’s been ten years it was an incredible night for us.’’
Despite winning the Premiership on the final day against the Victory, the Sky Blues had to take the long way to the Grand Final. The Victory would get their revenge over the two-legged semi-finals, forcing Sydney FC to defeat the Wellington Phoenix in a preliminary final.
Since then the visiting team on Grand Final day has only come out victorious three times – Central Coast in 2013, Melbourne Victory in 2018 and Sydney FC in 2019.