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Victory undone by A-League penalty lottery

NZN 6/05/2017 Ben McKay

It's the cruellest way to lose a football match and Melbourne Victory know all too well how it feels.

After shading Sydney FC over 120 minutes in the A-League grand final at Allianz Stadium, Victory were undone in a penalty shootout.

The final score of 1-1 and 4-2 in the shootout was the same result as seven years earlier when Victory lost to the Sky Blues at Etihad Stadium.

On that occasion, it was Kevin Muscat who missed a decisive penalty despite an imperious record from the spot.

On Sunday, Victory skipper Carl Valeri endured the same fate by crashing his spot-kick onto the crossbar before Marco Rojas had his effort saved.

It was a heartbreaking way to lose given Victory were deserved leaders for almost an hour against the record-breaking premiers.

For Muscat, the greater disappointment came not from losing in a shootout but for not converting their high-octane performance in to a win.

"That's the gut-wrenching thing," the Victory coach said.

"Looking at players in the eye and somehow explaining to them how they've lost tonight.

"That first 45 minutes there was one team and one team in it alone.

"It was an unbelievable effort.

"That's life and that's football ... they didn't deserve to lose."

Besart Berisha's 20th minute goal put Victory in control of the contest, before Rhyan Grant scrambled home a second-half equaliser.

The closest Victory would come to a second was James Troisi's late volley, which crashed off the inside of the post with Danny Vukovic beaten.

That brought penalties, with Valeri and Rojas failing football's ultimate pressure test.

Muscat says he wouldn't criticise either player.

"I missed one a few years ago. Write about that," he said.

"Regardless of what it is, who scored or who missed, it's no problem anyway because they keep replaying mine at every event.

"People get more enjoyment out of mine."

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