Macedonian Australian club Altona Magic Vardar, has pinched the 2008 Foxtel Cup in the last minute of extra time against Melbourne Knights in a dramatic finish to the grand final at Bob Jane Stadium today.
After being outplayed for the bulk of regular time and most of extra, Carl Recchia ripped the heart out of the Knights with a 120 minute strike that sent the Magic camp into rapture.
It was devastating for the Knights who had done everything but score throughout the match, missing several opportunities to go ahead.
The first half was a dour struggle with the ball ebbing and flowing at both ends of the pitch.
Melbourne Knights were playing a better brand of football and created two genuine chances for the half.
But the sides went into the main break locked at 0-0 apiece, and the Knights would rue the fact they failed to capitalise on their dominance.
It would be the attacking Andrew Barisic who really got things going for the Knights after the break.
He constantly gave the Magic defenders a hard time with some forceful runs straight in at the net, using clever ball control and a touch of cheek.
He was the most dangerous player on the ground, despite Henry Fa’Arodo causing some flutters among the Knights camp with his un-matched pace.
The biggest chance for the Knights to score came in the 81st minute.
A dashing run down the middle from Knights captain Elvin, who flicked out wide which was then crossed in, where Zoran Petrevski’s shot was well saved.
But the scores remained nil-all at full time, forcing the match into extra time.
For the Knights, it would be their third match in four weeks which this has occurred.
Not long into the first of the extra halves, Elvin had a tremendous chance to give the Knights the lead, but his cracking header was wide of the post.
The next legitimate chance came from a frantic goal-mouth scramble where Knights keeper Savas Ozdemir denied the Magic what would have been a crushing goal.
With around seven minutes remaining in extra time, a cracking shot from Altona’s Philip Riccobene from 25 metres out was tipped over the bar by a diving Ozdemir.
What was to happen after this no-one expected!
The Knights defence was caught off guard by a deflected ball, with Altona star Carl Recchia running onto it.
He then looped it over Ozdemir’s head to give Altona the lead with under a minute to play.
A shattered Melbourne Knights could hardly contain their disappointment after looking the better team for the entire match.
The whistle blew just after the restart to give Altona a famous victory.
Melbourne Knights captain Craig Elvin was clearly the best player on the ground in a gutsy performance, but unfortunately it was his counterpart Doug Mladenovic who would hold the Foxtel Cup aloft for the Magic.