2016/17 Australian A-League, 2016 Australian A-League
  • BobĂ´ (50')

Sydney FC beat Melbourne Victory as Premiers' Plate glory beckons

Sydney FC are on the brink of their first piece of silverware in seven A-league seasons after beating Melbourne Victory 1-0.

Bobo buried his 11th goal of the campaign to seal Friday's Big Blue, lifting the Sky Blues 11 points clear of second-placed Victory with five games to play in the race for the Premiers' Plate.

Graham Arnold's runaway leaders need five more points from the five remaining rounds to lift the trophy.

Bobo scored the goal, but it really belonged to his whole team and was orchestrated by playmaker Milos Ninkovic.

The Johnny Warren Medal, for player of the season, frontrunner played the ball inside for his teammates to execute a training-ground move, as Josh Brillante shifted to Alex Brosque and then Filip Holosko, who atoned for an earlier miss with a pin-point cross, which Bobo tapped home.

The Allianz Stadium pitch was a swamp under heavy rain but both teams cut through the quagmire with incongruous ease and fashioned chances aplenty for the 13,310 who braved the wet.

Sydney were always the more likely, but were lucky Michael Zullo was only shown a yellow card early for bringing Marco Rojas down as the winger closed in on goal.

Holosko failed to make contact with a Bobo ball and Rhyan Grant had an audacious crack from distance, while Brosque rifled a left-foot strike over the bar before the skipper was superbly denied by Lawrence Thomas.

Up the other end, former Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic pulled off a cracking save to stop Jai Ingham from point blank range as Rojas repeatedly carved through Sydney's defence.

The Kiwi international caused the hosts issues and he soon put Ingham through again, only to watch the 23-year-old direct a lame header straight into Vukovic's arms.

After the break and one goal down, Victory pressed on.

But if they were going to equalise, the moment came and went just before the hour mark, when Besart Berisha inexplicably skied a gilt-edged chance from inside the area.

Moments later Ninkovic nearly doubled the lead in sensational style with a 30-metre volley that dipped slightly too late and kissed the roof of the net.

As Bernie Ibini entered the fray so did Fahid Ben Khalfallah, a day after Muscat dodged contractual speculation surrounding the Tunisian's recent omissions.

But the visitors became their own worst enemy in the last 20 minutes, leaving open space and allowing Ninkovic to weave more magic, only for Grant to direct his final shot straight at Thomas.

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