What a difference a day makes.
After 26 rounds there was still so much up for grabs on the last day of the regular season.
But at last the final piece of the puzzle has slotted into it’s rightful place and the complete picture of A-League finals can be revealed.
Sydney FC left it until the very last match to book their finals berth.
Richard Garcia’s late winner at Allianz Stadium on Sunday clinched a 2-1 win over Perth Glory and fifth spot.
The Sky Blues will now travel to face fourth-placed Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium on Friday.
Sydney’s win also means Adelaide finish the season in sixth spot and now take on third-placed Central Coast in Gosford next Saturday.
With only defeat by a two-goal margin denying Sydney a finals berth their victory also shut the door on seventh-placed Newcastle’s faint playoff hopes.
Glory coach Kenny Lowe however feels while the Sky Blues were able to get on top of his side, they’ll face a much harder task against Victory, a team he feels can shut down the likes of Alessandro Del Piero.
“I think they’ve got some quality players but it depends if you allow those players to do what they can do,” Lowe said.
“It will probably be tough for them, I think.
“If you’re being honest and realistic, and I think you’ve always got to have realistic expectations, they’re not one of the top sides at the moment.
“I think that’s fair to say.”
Western Sydney won the incredibly tight race for second spot after producing a stunning comeback to overrun Melbourne Heart 3-2 to spoil Harry Kewell’s farewell match on Saturday.
With a top-two finish comes qualification for the prestigious Asian Champions League and the advantage of going straight through to a home semi.
However, it seems they aren’t the only perks with no side ever winning the championship from outside the top two.