Macarthur FC's fairytale debut A-League season has come to an end.
The Bulls were knocked out of the 2020/21 finals season one win shy of a grand final appearance on Sunday, going down to the season premiers Melbourne City 2-0. The game, which was moved from Victoria to Netstrate Jubilee Stadium in Kogarah, also marked inaugural captain Mark Milligan's final game as a player.
Scores were locked at nil-all for almost an hour in Sunday's game, before City's Stefan Colakovski and Marco Tilio added two goals in two minutes.
Coach Ante Milicic said in the post-match press conference that he and the team were bitterly disappointed not to progress to the grand final.
"The group of players we have are very disappointed," he said.
"We expected more and we wanted more. To fall short the way we did is definitely going to hurt for a while.
"It's hard to get to these games.
"It's a big opportunity and we felt we were a massive chance.
"In the end I was disappointed with the first goal we conceded.
"We had the numbers there and it got away from us.
"To concede the second so quickly just killed us, it was too much too soon."
Milicic said Bulls fans would still be able to see their captain next season as part of the coaching squad.
"I'm really honoured that Millsy decided to home to us, he's got that dressing room on remote control," he said.
"That's why I was so determed to bring him here and thank the owners for supporting me in that decision.
"He's been fantastic for us, he's a gentleman, and I really look forward to [him coaching].
"He's not done much in terms of coaching, but he's got a great football mind.
"I look forward to seeing how he grows as a coach."
He said Milligan was one of a kind and an inspiration for other footballers.
"To have Millsy at our club, I'm so proud," Milicic said.
"What he does, so many people don't see that, and we benefit from that.
"He's a champion of the code here in this country.
"I'm sad that [his playing career] ended the way it did, but we've gained a fantastic person in our football department.
"We're probably a more preferred destination now in the A-League than we were 12 months ago, so that's something to be proud of."
Milligan spoke to Fox Sports after the match and congratulated Melbourne City on their impending grand final appearance.
"They have been the benchmark this year and are very deserving to go through to next week," he said.
"They were very good tonight, their young boys stepped up."
He said he was now looking forward to spending more time with his kids in retirement.