Victory breaking

Melbourne Victory's finals hopes officially came to an end as they were defeated 1-0 by Sydney FC on Saturday night.

Melbourne Victory's finals hopes officially came to an end as they were defeated 1-0 by Sydney FC on Saturday night.

Karol Kisel's first-half penalty was all that separated the two sides in front of 18,180 fans at Allianz Stadium.

Victory goalkeeper Ante Covic starred for the visitors though, making a string of impressive saves to keep the club's hopes for a point alive until the final whistle.

Melbourne boss Jim Magilton made two changes to the side that lost 3-1 to the Newcastle Jets in their last fixture, with Fabio and Isaka Cernak drafted in to replace Matthew Kemp and Carlos Hernandez.

Kemp was handed a one-week club imposed suspension for storming down the tunnel when substituted against the Jets while Hernandez missed out through suspension following his red card.

Melbourne started brightly, with Petar Franjic and Archie Thompson testing Sydney goalkeeper Ivan Necevski in the early stages but from then on it was all Sydney.

Matthew Foschini had to desperately block Nick Carle's goalbound strike while Covic had to come off his line to deny Joel Chianese - twice - and Kisel in the space of five first-half minutes.

Kisel was denied by Mark Milligan's goal-line clearance on 26 minutes and he fired wide at the end of the same move, while Bruno Cazarine did the same moments later.

With 13 minutes remaining in the first-half, Sydney took the lead when Spanish defender Ubay Luzardo conceded a penalty for holding onto Cazarine at a corner.

Kisel stepped up and dispatched the spot-kick and the Slovakian midfielder was in the thick of things, turning the ball over the bar from close range shortly after.

Victory stopped the bleeding though and a terrific Marco Rojas cross was headed over by Thompson just before the break.

Magilton's men started the best in the second half but Milligan fired well over the bar while Chianese missed a volley with the goal gaping at the other end.

Chianese was again thwarted by the impressive Covic before Milligan headed wide, and the former Sydney utility cleared off the line for the second time when denied Carle.

Cazarine headed straight at Covic before he nodded the ball over, while Rojas fired a shot that fizzed just wide.

Kewell was then responsible of missing Victory's best chance of the match, as he headed over from five yards in the aftermath of a Rojas corner.

More brave defence from Melbourne kept Sydney at bay but they could not find the goal that would have given them a draw as Vitezslav Lavicka's men moved to within a point of the top six.

Sydney FC 1 (Kisel 33p) Melbourne Victory 0 18,180 at Allianz Stadium