On Friday 5th of October 2018, Allianz Stadium in Sydney will host its last ever event. Opening in 1988 as the Sydney Football Stadium, the venue has been home to several memorable moments in Australian football.
Sydney FC have played their home matches at the ground since 2005, while NSL matches have also taken place at the ‘Football Stadium’ throughout the years. The Socceroos regularly played internationals there, including a number of memorable matches.
In 1988 in the Bicentennial Gold Cup match against Argentina, Australia caused the upset of the year with a 4-1 thrashing. This match is known for Charlie Yankos’ stunning free kick, a goal that continues to be replayed.
A year later, the venue was home to heartbreak, as Australia drew 1-1 with Israel in front of 40,320 fans and missed out on the 1990 World Cup in Italy.
The fans were happier in 1993, when Australia overcame a 2-1 deficit against Canada to progress to the next stage of World Cup qualification. It was the match that put long serving goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer’s name into the spotlight, saving two penalties in the shootout to help Australia advance.
Two months later, the stadium hosted arguably its biggest football event ever. Australia battled against a Diego Maradona led Argentina side in the first leg of a World Cup qualifying tie. The massive crowd of 43,967 - the most ever for a football match at the stadium - witnessed a classic match in which Australia matched the South American giants.
Aurelio Vidmar scored for Australia, linking up with his brother Tony in the lead-up to send the home crowd wild. Unfortunately, Australia lost the second leg and failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup in the United States.
The Sydney Football Stadium played a role in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, hosting a number of matches in both the men’s and women’s tournaments. These games attracted strong crowds and included a total of four Australia games across the two tournaments.
The inaugural A-League Grand Final in 2006 was played at the ground, as Sydney FC defeated the Central Coast Mariners 1-0. Steve Corica scored the solitary goal and former Manchester United player Dwight Yorke, who had joined Sydney FC as a ‘marquee’, won the Joe Marston medal for the best on field.
Three more A-League Grand Finals were played at the stadium, most recently in May 2017 as Sydney FC beat rivals Melbourne Victory 4-2 in a penalty shootout, after the match finished 1-1 after extra time.
Allianz Stadium has been the home of many football matches throughout the years, both domestic and international. Despite its short history, there is no doubt that it has provided a number of memorable moments that will never be forgotten.