Unsavoury scenes marred Sydney United’s maiden Australia Cup final, with fans reportedly signing throughout the national anthem and the Welcome to Country.
Sydney United’s miracle run to the cup final has been the story of the competition this season, as they became the first National Premier League team to reach the final.
A powerhouse of the old National Soccer League, Sydney United knocked out A-League sides Western United and Brisbane Roar heavyweights in the process.
Sydney United fans allegedly booed and chanted during the Welcome to Country
But what should have been a joyous occasion at CommBank Stadium on Saturday night turned out to be a far bleaker affair in front of a 16,461 crowd, dominated by Sydney United supporters.
Sections of fans could be heard singing during the national anthem and the traditional Welcome to Country ahead of kick-off against Macarthur.
The chanting and singing was clearly audible during the Channel 10 broadcast and prompted an angry backlash on social media.
‘Not that hard to respect a Welcome to Country,’ tweeted freelance journalist Joey Lynch.
freelance journalist Joey Lynch noted the Welcome to Country hadn’t been respected
Several fans agreed with the stance.
‘These Sydney United smoothbrains talking about “respecting history” with ethnic clubs yet actively booing the most basic recognition of 60,000 years of a vibrant culture,’ tweeted one.
‘Pathetic. Absolute village mentality.’
Formerly known as Sydney Croatia, Sydney United have long been a focal point for the Croatian community in Sydney and beyond. However, some elements of the club’s hardcore support have been pictured doing Roman salutes and carrying flags
Viewers blasted Sydney United fans for an ‘absolute village mentality’
Fans slammed pundits for not highlighting the behaviour of Sydney United fans
The scenes before the Australia Cup final on Saturday night left plenty of fans disgusted
Elements of the Sydney United Supporters group (SUS) have carried symbols of white supremacy and fascist imagery.
SUS members have also sung songs celebrating the Ustaše – an ultranationalist far-right organisation that from 1929 to 1945 supported the creation of a greater and ‘racially pure Croatia.
On Saturday, pictures of fans with their right arm raised in what appeared to be a Nazi salute quickly went viral on social media.
Pictures of fans with their right arm raised in what appeared to be a Nazi salute quickly went viral on social media
‘This Australia Cup Final should have been a celebration of Australian football, instead it’s tainting it,’ tweeted freelance journalist Paul Williams.
‘The Ustaše symbols and chants, the disrespect to the Welcome to Country and anthem. There’s no place for it. Serious talks need to be had before we concretise the NSD.’
Presenter Jake Buckley added: ‘Sydney United getting to the Final was meant to be a good thing. First NPL club ever to do it. Instead it exposed neo-Nazis in their own supporter group.
Freelance journalist Paul Williams argued the behaviour of Sydney United fans had spoilt what should have been a glorious occasion for Australian football
Presentet Jake Buckely called for authorities to investigate the scenes at CommBank Stadium
‘Hope the whole club is throughly investigated. These people shouldn’t be welcome in Football in this country.’
On the field, a 32nd-minute penalty from Al Hassan Toure and a second spot-kick from Ulises Davila in the dying stages of the second half secured victory for Macarthur as Dwight Yorke claimed his first piece of silverware five games into his managerial reign.
The win also brought Macarthur’s first trophy since they entered the A-League Men in 2020 and ensures they will take their place in the 2023/24 AFC Cup.
Sydney United fans dominated the 16,461 crowd at CommBank Stadium on Saturday
The Sydney United fans created a febrile atmosphere at CommBank Stadium, but several among them crossed a line as they made Nazi salutes and booed the national anthem
A 14th-minute corner from Daniel Arzani found the head of Jonathan Aspropotamitis and were it not for the reflexes of United goalkeeper Danijel Nizic the Bulls would have taken an early lead.
The Bulls continued to press forward and got their reward when Davila was brought down inside the box following a clumsy challenge from United defender Anthony Tomelic.
Toure converted from the spot and was greeted with projectiles from the United fans as he ran towards their end cupping his ears in celebration.
Al Hassan Toure scored Macarthur’s first goal of the night against Sydney United
The Bulls lifted the first trophy of Dwight Yorke’s managerial tenure on Saturday
United pushed forward but could not fashion an equaliser no matter how hard they tried, Chris Payne taking a touch too many when they countered Macarthur.
Striker Patrick Antelmi, who had perhaps the best chance of the night, could only cushion a header into the hands of Bulls goalkeeper Filip Kurto.
The Bulls, who went close through Lachlan Rose in the second half, eventually got their second when substitute Craig Noone was felled in the United box and Davila wrapped up the result in the 90th minute with a well-taken penalty.