Sydney move 12 points clear

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League leaders Sydney FC have moved 12 points clear at the top of the A-League ladder after a 3-1 victory over the Wellington Phoenix in front of 8,380 fans at Allianz Stadium.

Goals from Rhyan Grant, Bobo and Milos Ninkovic wrapped up the victory for the Sky Blues, while Alex Rodriguez’s first half strike proved little consolation for the Phoenix.

Sydney made their mark barely three minutes in with Grant opening the scoring. Alex Brosque’s determined run and perfectly weighted cross teed Grant up perfectly, with the right-back directing a powerful header past the hapless Glen Moss.

It took the Sky Blues less than 20 minutes to double their advantage, going 2-0 up with a delightful team goal. Sydney carved through the Phoenix defence with a five man passing sequence, before Grant turned creator with a curling cross into the box for Bobo to head in.

The shell-shocked Phoenix barely registered a threat on Danny Vukovic’s goal for the first half hour, but somehow found themselves just a goal behind after 31 minutes. The home defence switched off for a Wellington corner, letting Rodriguez grab the faintest of touches at the near post to direct the ball past Vukovic and make it 2-1.

Rodriguez’s goal brought the visitors to life, with the Phoenix playing themselves into the match and unlucky not to draw level after Kosta Barbarouses’ determined run and effort.  

Brillante nearly extended the hosts lead again just before half time – his pile driver of an effort from distance requiring an outstanding fingertip save from Moss to deflect the ball onto the post.

Sydney started the second half in the same way as the first, capitalising on a sluggish Phoenix defence to take a 3-1 lead in the 54th minute.

Brillante’s through ball to Ninkovic appeared overcooked, but the midfield maestro’s excellent first touch allowed him the time to place a composed finish between Andrew Durante’s legs and into the bottom corner.

The Phoenix reverted back to their sloppiness from earlier in the game in the second half, making a myriad of errors and consistently gifting Sydney the ball – Gui Finkler particularly to blame for a handful of turnovers.

Unfortunately for the spectators that made it out to Allianz neither side could produce the same kind of spark that lit up the first 45 minutes, with few chances after Sydney’s third goal.

The Sydney FC faithful will care little, as the Sky Blues eased home 3-1 winners and further cemented their lead on the ladder.

For the Phoenix it will be a bout of introspection following yet another inconsistent display which has characterised their season.  

Sydney FC 3 (Grant 3’, Bobo 22’, Ninkovic 54’)
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Rodriguez 31’)

Stadium: Allianz Stadium
Crowd: 8,380

Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Scott Edeling and Andrej Giev
Fourth Official: Ben Abraham

Sydney FC 4. WILKINSON Alex, 5. BUIJS Jordy, 6. BRILLANTE Joshua, 7. ZULLO Michael, 8. DIMITRIJEVIC Milos, 9. BOBO, 10. NINKOVIC Milos (16. TIMOTHEOU George 90’), 14. BROSQUE Alex (C) (17. CARNEY David 86’), 20. VUKOVIC Danny (gk), 21. HOLOSKO Filip (11. IBINI Bernie 72’), 23. GRANT Rhyan

Substitutes: 1. REDMAYNE Andrew (gk), 18. SIMON Matt

Wellington Phoenix 1. MOSS Glen (gk), 2. TRATT Jacob (23. RIDENTON Matthew 61’), 5. LOWRY Ryan, 7. FINKLER Gui, 8. RODRIGUEZ Alex (4. BONEVACIA Roly 65’), 9. BARBAROUSES Kosta, 10. MCGLNCHEY Michael (11. WATSON Hamish 45’) 17. LIA Vince, 19. DOYLE Tom, 21. KRISHNA Roy, 22. DURANTE Andrew (c),

Substitutes: 20. ITALIANO Lewis (gk), 6. FOX Dylan

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