Sydney FC are one win away from having an unassailable lead in the Premiership race after grinding out a 1-0 win against the Central Coast Mariners at Allianz Stadium on Friday night.
An early goal from Filip Holosko put the home side in control, with Mariners goalkeeper Ivan Necevski pulling off multiple sharp saves in the second half to keep the visitors in the contest.
Coming up against his former side Necevski denied Bernie Ibini from the penalty spot, while he needed to dive full stretch to turn a Brandon O’Neill free-kick around the post in a man-of-the-match display.
The Sky Blues jumped out of the box in the opening match of a split Round 23 with defender Jordy Buijs firing an early warning shot when he blazed over the bar.
Sydney didn't have to wait long to take the lead however when their Slovak striker empathically buried a pinpoint cross from Michael Zullo at the back post.
Recently selected Socceroo Rhyan Grant mishit a chance to double his side’s lead before the break, while substitute Ibini also stuck the crossbar following his penalty miss.
The Mariners were not without some chances of their own with Fabio Ferreira and Roy O’Donovan both spurning free headers in the first-half, but they struggled to find a route to goal after the interval.
The result sees the Sky Blues complete a season sweep of the Central Coast and the Premiers Plate will be theirs if Melbourne Victory fail to beat Perth Glory on Saturday night.
Meanwhile the Mariners hopes of playing finals football have been all but extinguished but they’ll take heart from the fact they pushed the run-away league leaders all the way on their home patch.
1-0 Sydney FC: Filip Holosko, 8’
Some crisp passing from the Sky Blues gave Michael Zullo the chance to whip in a dangerous cross to the back post, where Holosko charged onto the ball and volleyed home from the six yard line.
11,148 @ Allianz Stadium
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