2017/18 Australian A-League, 2017 Australian A-League
  • Thomas Deng (53' OG)

Sydney edge Melbourne Victory thanks to Thomas Deng own goal

Luke Wilkshire during Sydney FC's A League win against Melbourne Victory. Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

A-League champions Sydney FC continued their streak of dominance over Melbourne Victory, winning 1-0 in Saturday night's grand final rematch.

An own goal from defender Thomas Deng early in the second half was all the Sky Blues needed as they opened their title defence with an assured, confident performance in front of 24,808 fans at Etihad Stadium.

Deng, 20, couldn't react quickly enough when a cross from Luke Wilkshire took the slightest glance off Alex Brosque's forehead and landed at his feet. The ball spilled off him and past Lawrence Thomas's outstretched glove to give the visitors the lead in the 53rd minute.

It was Sydney's fourth win a row against their rivals after Graham Arnold's men prevailed in all three A-League fixtures last season, then again on penalties in the grand final.

Victory's last win over Sydney was on Australia Day in 2016.

Deng was making his return appearance for Victory after spending last season on loan at PSV Eindhoven.

He was also playing out of position at left-back, with the absence of Melbourne's international trio Mark Milligan, James Troisi and Kosta Barbarouses -- plus a hamstring injury to Argentinian recruit Matias Sanchez -- forcing coach Kevin Muscat into a reshuffle.

Another new signing, Dutch winger Leroy George, started in attacking midfield despite lacking match fitness and lasted just more than an hour before he was replaced by Tasmanian product Josh Hope, who made his A-League debut.

Sydney were missing their usual left-back, the injured Michael Zullo, but were otherwise at full strength and seemed every bit the well-oiled machine they were last season.

They were troubled early by Victory's high press but eventually came into their own and finished the first half as the better side.

While the game opened up after that and Melbourne took control for much of the second stanza, Sydney were good enough to snuff out the chances they generated in their mad push for an equaliser. Besart Berisha went closest to levelling the scores in the 63rd minute but his attempt, like many others, was blocked by the resolute Sky Blues defence.

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