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American striker Madison Haley scores twice, wins MVP honors in Australia's title game

SYDNEY - American striker Madison Haley scored twice as Sydney FC snapped a three-season losing streak in Australian championship finals with a 4-0 win over Western United to claim a record-equalling fourth A-League Women's title on Sunday.

Haley opened the scoring in the fourth minute and added her second goal in stoppage time as Sydney added to their 2009, 2013 and 2019 triumphs and equalled Melbourne Victory's record as four-times champions.

Madison Haley first goal in A-League Women's Grand Final

Madison Haley second goal in A-League Women's Grand Final  

Madison Haley Facetimes her mom after winning Grand Final MVP 

Melbourne-based Western United had been on a fairytale run in their inaugural season and beat Sydney FC in the first round of the playoffs two weeks ago. Sydney got another chance courtesy of having finished top of the regular season standings and made no mistake in their fifth straight final, which attracted a record crowd of just under 10,000 to Parramatta Stadium.

"I can't believe we did it!" said Sydney captain Natalie Tobin. "Those last three grand final losses were heartbreaking but now it's just elation."

Haley, the daughter of five-times NFL Super Bowl champion Charles, gave Sydney a perfect start when she headed home a Mackenzie Hawkesby corner at the far post.

United's defense was again thrown into disarray when Hawkesby swung in another corner 14 minutes later and the ball came off goalkeeper Hillary Beall's fist onto Haley's head and out to Tobin, who looped a header into the net.

Sydney were fortunate to go into halftime without conceding and goalkeeper Jada Whyman had to be at her best to keep out the Western United attack, particularly the league's top scorer Hannah Keane.

After the break, Hawkesby, Rachel Lowe and Cortnee Vine, twice, all had good chances to put Sydney further ahead before the hour mark, but inaccuracy and Beall kept them at bay until they were awarded a penalty in the 63rd minute. Princess Ibini was held back by Stacey Papadopoulos as she burst into the penalty box, and the 23-year-old Matildas winger got up to convert the spot-kick with alacrity, driving the ball low into the left corner of the net.

Sydney kept pouring forward and Haley put a late gloss on the scoreline with her 11th goal of the season, finding a way past the courageous Beall from close range at the second attempt.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by William Mallard)

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