Sydney FC go 11 unbeaten after swatting Victory aside
Hyundai A-League frontrunners Sydney FC stretched their unbeaten run to 11 after accounting for Melbourne Victory 3-0 on Friday evening.
A poacher's effort from Hyundai A-League Golden Boot leader Adam Le Fondre established a Big Blue foothold for the visitors and after Ola Toivonen missed a massive chance to bury an equaliser after the interval, Kosta Barbarouses scored a sucker-punch second on his return to AAMI Park.
Alex Baumjohann iced another fantastic performance from the reigning Champions by scoring his first goal in Sky Blues colours on 85 minutes as Steve Corica's men established an 11-point lead atop the summit, a night only soured by a red card the German attacker received for a stoppage time scuffle with Leigh Broxham, who also received his marching orders.
The win at AAMI Park gives Sydney an all-time best Hyundai A-League tally of 37 points after 14 games, usurping the record set by Graham Arnold's Sky Blues side of 2017/18.
Victory out-shot the visitors by the tune of 19-10 in Melbourne but could not match the ruthless efficiency of their table-topping rivals, and were left to rue big chances missed by Robbie Kruse and Toivonen.
Le Fondre breaks Big Blue deadlock
Victory made a promising start and tested the handling of Sydney FC 'keeper Andrew Redmayne on three occasions, but fell behind when Adam Le Fondre made it goal number 14 from 14 matches.
The Englishman had earlier flicked a shot agonisingly wide of the post but this time profited from a glorious turn of pace from Alex Baumjohann, who skipped past Adama Traore and laid the ball on a platter for Le Fondre slot home the opener.
It was the Golden Boot leader's fifth consecutive goal away from home.
Kruse and Toivonen cannot equalise
Victory spurned a glorious chance to nab an equaliser on the stroke of half time.
Robbie Kruse started the foray with a burst forward from halfway, and the goal opened up for the Socceroo when Traore released him into the box, but under pressure by the retreating Ryan McGowan, Kruse's attempted finish across Redmayne was meek.
If Kruse's effort had left Victory fans frustrated, the Navy Blue faithful would soon be left in disbelief when Toivonen headed over with the goal at his mercy. Kruse hung a delightful ball across to the back post but the Swede, incredibly, could not find the target.
Barbarouses makes Victory pay
Sydney delivered a huge blow just minutes after dodging that bullet and it was Barbarouses who silenced AAMI Park.
Baumjohann slipped Le Fondre through on the right side of the box, the Englishman's centre was dangerous, and the New Zealand international got a telling toe to guide the ball underneath Lawrence Thomas.
Baumjohann adds a third
Sydney put the finishing touches on a dominant display when Baumjohann slid in a third on 85 minutes.
A lovely burst from substitute Luke Ivanovic had the Victory defence retreating, and when Milos Ninkovic found the German free on the right edge of the penalty area, he made no mistake.
Ways to watch
Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar
Friday, 31 January 2020
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick off: 6.30pm AEDT
Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory
Saturday, 1 February 2020
Kick off: 6.45pm local, 9.45pm AEDT