In front of a huge Australia Day crowd of more than 30,000 fans, Sydney FC has come-from-behind to beat a 10-man Melbourne Victory 2-1 in an intense Big Blue at Etihad Stadium.
Desperate to end the Sky Blues’ unbeaten run and close the gap in the race for the Premiership, Victory surged out of the blocks and took a deserved lead through James Troisi’s goal.
But Sydney FC hit back before the break via a superb Filip Holosko header before substitute Bernie Ibini produced a sublime piece of individual skill to put the visitors in front 25 minutes from time.
James Donachie was sent off a few minutes later for a fierce challenge on Alex Brosque and despite their best efforts, there was no way back for Victory.
The win keeps the Sky blues on track to be the Hyundai A-League’s first-ever ‘Invincibles’, extending their lead at the top to 11 points with 10 games to go.
Victory remains second but have now lost three games on the trot.
1-0 Victory: James Troisi 18’
Victory sprung a counter attack with Fahid Ben Khalfallah bursting forward and finding Marco Rojas in the box. The Kiwi winger laid it back to Troisi on the edge of the box and his sweet strike curled into the corner of the net.
1-1 Sydney: Filip Holosko 38’
Milos Ninkovic got the ball on the left and picked out a brilliant cross, with Holosko’s superbly flicked header looping high past the outstretched Lawrence Thomas and into the net.
1-2 Sydney: Bernie Ibini 65’
A bouncing ball was headed over the Victory defence with Ibini showing great pace and strength to get past two defenders before making no mistake with the finish.
Victory started the second half stronger and almost went in front when Ben Khalfallah’s cheeky chip almost caught out Danny Vukovic, only to clip the crossbar as it went just over. A few minutes later Ibini scored to put the Sky Blues in front.
James Donachie: Victory 71’
The defender was shown a straight red for a full-blooded and reckless lunging tackle on Sky Blues skipper Alex Brosque.
30,262 @ Etihad Stadium
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Hyundai A-League preview: Victory v Sydney FC
Australia Day, the Big Blue, a top-of-the-table clash - it all adds up to a Hyundai A-League blockbuster at Etihad Stadium as Melbourne Victory look to keep the premiership race alive against Sydney FC. MATCH DETAILS Thursday, 26 January 2017 Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC Et