Superb Sydney stamps its class

Sydney has established itself as the team to beat in the Hyundai A-League after crushing defending champion Melbourne Victory 3-0 in their top-of-the-table clash at Etihad Stadium thanks to a stunning four-minute burst in the first half.

Sydney has established itself as the team to beat in the Hyundai A-League after crushing defending champion Melbourne Victory 3-0 in their top-of-the-table clash at Etihad Stadium thanks to a stunning four-minute burst in the first half.

The Sky Blues came into the game with a poor record against Melbourne having beaten it once in their past nine encounters. But the new-look Sydney side, considered defensive specialist before this match, put those concerns to bed when Alex Brosque and Mark Bridge (twice) scored inside the first 20 minutes in front of a season-record crowd of 30,668.

Melbourne, coming off a three-match winning streak, was unable to offer anything in response, allowing Sydney to move four points clear on top of the table after 10 rounds. It was the Victory's worst-ever home defeat and their biggest at any venue in two years, serving as a reality check to the team's prospects of defending its championship.

Sydney has now won six of its first 10 matches, it-s best-ever start to a season, having put on a stunning display of free-flowing attacking football which sounded a warning to all other teams in the competition.

Melbourne looked relatively comfortable inside the first 10 minutes and could have had the early lead had Ney Fabiano made a better effort on the angle. The first sign that Sydney was on the ball was when Terry McFlynn surged forward and chipped over from the angle.

It was then that the home side was hit by three strikes in the space of four minutes which all but ended the game. The first came via an excellent cross from Simon Colosimo. Drawing Adrian Leijer out to the left flank, Colosimo beat his opponent and curled a ball in. Brosque rose easily above Leigh Broxham and Matthew Kemp and had no trouble beating Glen Moss with the header.

The home side had barely time to draw breath when Moss was picking out the ball from the back of the net again. McFlynn was afforded an acre of space in the middle of the park and his pass was perfect for Bridge to wrong-foot Rody Vargas, then nutmeg the Melbourne defender and leave Moss no hope.

Amazingly within 20 minutes of the opening whistle, Sydney was 3-0 in front. This time Shannon Cole got free down the right. It was another brilliant cross and Bridge got in front of Leijer to find the back of the net once again.

Melbourne's defence was all at sea and Sydney could have had two more goals by the half-hour mark as first McFlynn and then Cole went just over.

Eventually things settled down for the home side, which took Robbie Kruse off for Tom Pondeljak, and Fabiano could have pulled one back but shanked his shot, while Carlos Hernandez's free kicks looked the biggest worry for Clint Bolton.

Cole looked to continue the trend early in the second half with a well-hit shot from range which went just wide. But Bridge was to prove the main threat of extending the lead as he searched for the hat-trick, and twice he forced Moss into saves.

Soon after the hour, an otherwise quiet Archie Thompson first hit the side netting then somehow shot over from three yards out, while Pondlejak kneed the ball away when trying to attempt a shot. Brebner then forced Bolton into an excellent save with a powerful shot.

Thompson continued to pepper the goals without reward, while Evan Berger butchered a chance on 76 minutes. Had Melbourne had its shooting boots on, it could have possibly put some pressure on the visitors, but it wasn't to be its night.

The Sky Blues had done enough in their four-minute whirlwind to secure the points and make a significant statement to the rest of the competition.

Melbourne Victory 0 Sydney FC 3 (Brosque 15, Bridge 16, 19) Crowd: 30,668 at Etihad Stadium