Sydney FC have consolidated their hold on top spot in the A-League with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.
Adam Le Fondre opened the scoring in the 27th minute, then teed up ex-Victory forward Kosta Barbarouses to double the lead in the 53rd.
Alexander Baumjohann rounded out Friday’s win in the 85th.
The Sky Blues’ win was soured by a late red card to Baumjohann, while Victory’s Leigh Broxham was also sent off.
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Victory were unable to call on new signing Marco Rojas, as the winger’s international clearance didn’t come through in time to name him in their team, but skipper Ola Toivonen returned to their starting line-up. Victory’s Ben Carrigan made his A-League starting debut at centre-back, while for Sydney FC, Rhyan Grant and Luke Brattan returned from suspension. Toivonen, Migjen Basha and Andrew Nabbout all struck shots straight at Sydney goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne in the opening 13 minutes, and Victory would come to rue their failure to convert those opportunities.
Baumjohann set up Sydney’s opener, collecting the ball on the rebound before he beat two opponents before enabling Le Fondre to tap home past Lawrence Thomas. The goalkeeper arguably kept Victory in the game in the first half, producing a superb save to save Brattan’s free kick in the 34th minute before also leaping to deny Milos Ninkovic in the 42nd.
Victory had a golden chance to equalise in the 45th minute after a clever build- up from Elvis Kamsoba and Adama Traore, but Robbie Kruse’s tame shot left Redmayne with little work to do.