Victory Youth stuns Sydney FC

Melbourne Victory further delayed Sydney FC's march towards the Youth League premiership with a 3-2 triumph over the league leaders at Cromer Park on Sunday.

Melbourne Victory further delayed Sydney FC's march towards the Youth League premiership with a 3-2 triumph over the league leaders at Cromer Park on Sunday.

After taking all before them in the first half of the season, Sydney has now won just one of its last five outings, and need a win from the final two matches to guarantee the first-past-the-post title.

With a week's break prior to the Hyundai A-League finals, Melbourne were able to field a host of experienced players including Costa Rican international Jose Luiz Lopez, former Socceroo defender Michael Thwaite, veteran Scot Grant Brebner, plus youth internationals Leigh Broxham and Evan Berger.

The home side also included several with first-team experience, amongst them Rhyan Grant, Zach Cairncross, Kofi Danning, Brendan Gan and Mitchell Prentice, though only the latter was included as an overage player.

The match started brightly despite the afternoon heat with both goalkeepers tested from long-range on a couple of occasions before the match had settled into its rhythm.

The complexion of a fairly even match turned quickly late in the half with Victory grabbing two quick and well-taken goals.

Firstly, Broxham threaded a pass behind an exposed Sydney defence for Nathan Elasi to run on to and comfortably finish past Blues keeper Vedran Janjetovic.

The former Marconi Stallions striker then doubled the advantage for the Victory, hitting a superb inch-perfect curling shot from 20-metres that struck the inside of the post before nestling in the goal.

After not conceding three goals at home all season the league leaders were then rocked by a third for the Victory six minutes after the interval.

The goal came from nothing after a speculative long-ball was picked up by Dimitri Hatzimouratis, who broke through the challenge of Anthony Golec on the left side of the penalty area to finish comfortably.

Sydney pulled a goal back a further six minutes on with Chris Payne slotting home from near the penalty spot following a smart interchange of passes between young guns Gan and Grant.

Midway through the half Sydney scored again this time with the help of an error from Victory keeper Mitchell Langerak, The former Young Socceroo custodian allowing a Gan strike to slip through his fingers, after Danning had laid the groundwork, thus setting up a grandstand finish.

The dying stages saw Hatzimouratis have the opportunity to kill off the contest but his effort was pushed wide, after a Fabio Di Lizia long-ball caught out a static Sydney defence.

Almost immediately at the other end, Payne fired straight at Langerak after a surging burst down the left flank from Matthew Jurman but the Victory held out a fast-finishing SFC

Sydney will have the chance to seal the premiership next Saturday away to bottom-side Newcastle Jets.

Sydney FC 2 (Chris Payne 57', Brendan Gan 66') Melbourne Victory 3 (Nathan Elasi 36', 45', Dimitri Hatzimouratis 51)

Sydney FC: Vedran Janjetovic (gk), Rhyan Grant, Matthew Jurman, Chris Triantis Chris Payne, Robbie Mileski (Matthew Hall 53'), Anthony Golec (Ibrahim Haydar 53'), Zach Cairncross (Mitchell Prentice h/t), Kofi Danning, Brendan Gan, Luke Austin.

Cautions: Gan 37', Jurman 83',

Melbourne Victory: Mitchell Langerak (gk), Jose Luiz Lopez, Michael Thwaite, Matthew Foschini, Cameron Drake, Evan Berger (Aziz Behich 58'), Mathew Theodore (Leigh Broxham 76'), Nathan Elasi (Tedros Yabio 55'), Dimitri Hatzimouratis, Leigh Broxham (Fabio Di Lizia, 58'), Grant Brebner

Subs: Sebastian Mattei (gk)

Cautions: Lopez 17', Hatzimouratis 88', Drake 93'