Meet Sydney FC’s humble hero from 2010

When discussing Sydney FC’s only Hyundai A-League premiership-championship double, names like Lavicka, Aloisi and Bridge will dominate, but the man who secured victory in the 2010 grand final against Victory has revealed how his career changed that day.

Byun Sung-hwan played 31 A-League matches in the 2009/10 season and while the South Korean was rarely in the spotlight, he dominated the headlines after the grand final thanks to his decisive penalty in the shootout.

As the current Sky Blues prepare for Sunday’s grand final where they will look to match the 2009/10 side by claiming the Premier’s Plate and Championship Byun reminisced with Goal about the highlight of his professional career.

Byun Sung Hwan.

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The two A-League trophies were the only silverware Byun ever won as a player.


“During my 13 years as a professional player, my time in Sydney is definitely on the top of the list,” he told Goal this week.

“I can say that it was a turning point for me to be part of the team winning a double title.”

Byun’s A-League story began in June 2009 after the former Ulsan, Busan I’Park and Jeju United full-back decided he wanted to play abroad before hanging up his boots.

“I had already been in K League for 10 years and I thought that this would be my last chance as a professional player to go overseas,” he said.

“During that time, I had the opportunity to choose between a team in the United States and Sydney FC and chose the latter.

“Right before that season a new manager was signed [Lavicka] and there was one position left for an import player and I was lucky enough to get in.”


Byun and goalkeeper Clint Bolton were the only two players to start all 27 rounds of the regular season plus Sydney’s four finals.


Making the left-back position his own, Byun was critical to Sydney finishing on top of the table with the best defensive record in the competition before the finals.

Sydney and Melbourne Victory traded blows throughout the campaign, with the Sky Blues beating the Big V 2-0 at home in the final round to secure the Premier’s Plate.

Victory hit back over the next two weeks, winning the two-legged major semi-final to earn hosting rights for the grand final, but Sydney recovered to beat Wellington Phoenix 4-2 in the preliminary final, setting up a rematch at Etihad Stadium.

The championship decider was tight contest – Bridge gave the visitors the lead just past the hour mark, while Adrian Leijer levelled with nine minutes remaining.

Extra time and a penalty shootout followed, and when Byun stepped up to take Sydney’s fifth penalty, the Sky Blues lead 3-2 and were on the verge of the club’s second championship.


“It is definitely one of the most memorable moments of my entire career,” said Byun, who now works at Seongnam FC after retiring in 2014.

Byun Sung-Hwan

“The head coach had given me the chance to decide when to kick and I chose to go last. It was a moment of truth.

“If I failed to score I would become the biggest villain of the team but if I succeeded I would become a hero. Thankfully I was able to score and be part of a historical moment for the club.”

Byun stayed with Sydney for one more season and then moved to Newcastle Jets in 2011/12 before returning to his homeland after 78 A-League appearances.

Stints at Seongnam and FC Anyang followed before he moved into coaching.

Just over seven years on from Byun’s moment of glory and Sydney have finally added another trophy to the cabinet thanks to Graham Arnold and Co. claiming the Premier’s Plate.

Victory will again play a key role as the Sky Blues aim for another A-League double when the two sides meet at Allianz Stadium on Sunday and Byun is wishing his ex-club all the best.

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“I’ve been constantly following the A-League and monitoring the results. I find it interesting to see how the league I have been part of develops and grows,” he said.

“I have been following Sydney and honestly believe that they have a high chance to win. I will cheer for them.”

Sydney FC will play Melbourne Victory in the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Grand Final.