Corica wins it for Sydney

Sydney FC will end 2009 on top of the A-League table after a piece of Steve Corica brilliance handed it a 1-0 win over Adelaide United at the SFS.

Sydney FC will end 2009 on top of the A-League table after a piece of Steve Corica brilliance handed it a 1-0 win over Adelaide United at the SFS.

The Sky Blues' ninth win from 11 home matches took them to 38 competition points, three ahead of Melbourne who faced North Queensland in the late Sunday kick-off in Townsville.

At the very least, Sydney will be co-competition leaders heading into the new year after Corica's solo effort on 49 minutes sealed a well-deserved win before 11,741 fans.

Adelaide's woes continue, the defeat leaving Aurelio Vidmar's team anchored to the bottom of the table.

The chances came thick and fast for Sydney early as they displayed some lovely ball-to-feet passing to open up the visitors.

There were just 40 seconds on the clock when Alex Brosque fired the first warning shot, his shoot-on-sight effort palmed away by Adelaide keeper Eugene Galekovic, who then had to react a second time when his save was re-directed towards the goal by Reds defender Daniel Mullen.

Simon Colosimo climbed above his marker to claim a header from a Mark Bridge cross seven minutes in, the attempt on target but far too high.

A minute later Brosque was back in action after a nice give and go with the effervescent Karol Kisel, arguably the best player on the park.

Brosque's hands went to his face as he saw the shot whistle just by the right post.

By this time Kisel was almost untouchable, bamboozling Mark Rudan on the edge of the box to tee up Corica for a side-footed shot that took a deflection for a corner.

All this and we were only 10 minutes into it.

But the frenetic gave way to the frustrating the longer the half wore on.

The Sky Blues began over-playing their hand, taking one pass too many or over-hitting crosses as the game meandered.

The Reds struggled to carve out goal opportunities but were at least looking a little more water-tight at the back.

Pim Verbeek, watching from the stands with his daughter, would not have take much heart from the last 35 minutes as he prepares to take a Socceroos squad laden with A-League players into Asian Cup battle with Kuwait next week.

Adelaide will feel it should have shut Corica down before he suckered them into believing he was only jinking his way onto the box to lay off a shot for a team-mate four minutes after the resumption.

But the veteran always had one eye on the target, turning Ian Fyfe before the goal opened up invitingly.

The skipper's shot took a deflection off Fyfe's trailing foot, giving Galekovic no chance.

The goal was all Corica's but there was some lovely movement and passing from Kisel, Brosque and Terry McFlynn in the lead-up.

Adelaide enjoyed its best stint straight after the goal, Cristiano forcing a rare save from Bolton before Travis Dodd, a half-time replacement, blazed over the bar just past the hour mark.

The Sky Blues sensed one goal may not be enough to ensure their safety and continued to attack.

Brosque almost granted their wish, intercepting a weakly-hit effort from Stuart Musialik on the edge of the box before hitting a shot with his less-favoured right foot as he swivelled.

It brought out a brilliant save from Galekovic, the Reds custodian flying through the air and flicking the ball away for a corner with his left hand.

Brendan Gan had only been on the field a matter of minutes when he had the chance to put the game to bed 11 minutes from time.

But after being played into a one-on-one confrontation with the keeper courtesy of a Brosque pass, the Sydney replacement dribbled his shot straight at Galekovic.

John Aloisi, on as a late substitution, almost did what Gan couldn't with four minutes remaining.

The look of anguish on the former Australian striker's face said it all as the ball rose just above the bar.

But the Reds had no gas left, leaving Sydney to do all the late running and collect another three points without too many headaches.

Sydney FC 1 Corica (49m)

Adelaide United 0