Put down your glasses - Sydney FC will win A-League premiership

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Having stretched their lead to 11 points with a win over Melbourne Victory, the unbeaten Sky Blues look to be out of sight


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Football Federation Australia may as well call the engraver and get the Premier's Plate ready as Sydney FC are almost over the horizon after their 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory.

For the second time this season, Sydney weathered some impressive periods from Victory to come from behind and win, with Bernie Ibini's sucker-punch goal securing three points for the visitors on Australia Day at Etihad Stadium.

The win takes the undefeated Sky Blues 11 points clear of second-placed Victory with 10 rounds remaining.

While that isn't exactly an insurmountable lead, the nine remaining A-League clubs will continue to take points off each other for the rest of the season, which should keep Sydney well clear of the chasing pack.

Victory were left to rue a number of missed opportunities early in the second half of the Big Blue as they slumped to a third straight loss, while to add insult to injury, centre-back James Donachie was sent off with 19 minutes remaining.

Graham Arnold's Sydney continued their undefeated campaign and they yet again proved they have the mentality to become the A-League's Invincibles.

That is not to say that they definitely will finish the regular season unbeaten but the Sky Blues' knack for getting out of sticky situations deserves immense credit.

In a rather tepid first half, Victory started better in the top-of-the-table clash as they targeted Sydney's stand-in right-back Aaron Calver.

Fahid Ben Khalfallah gave the youngster, who was covering for the suspended Rhyan Grant, a torrid time and it was the former Tunisia international who set up Victory's goal.

Oliver Bozanic's pass released Ben Khalfallah in the 18th minute and he surged forward before feeding Marco Rojas in the penalty area, and the Kiwi winger teed up James Troisi for a fine goal.

Sydney were always going to have their own chances, however, and they levelled in the 38th minute.

After Lawrence Thomas made a double save to deny Bobo and Michael Zullo, Victory failed to clear the subsequent corner and their goalkeeper was helpless to stop Filip Holosko's flick header from Milos Ninkovic's cross.

The Big V again had the better of the early periods of the second half but their failure to convert cost them.

Donachie didn't get proper contact on Troisi's free-kick when he was goalside of his marker, Ben Khalfallah hit the bar with a chip and record-breaker Leigh Broxham - in his 225th appearance for Victory - saw a close-range shot saved by Danny Vukovic.

Ibini made Victory pay in the 65th minute - five minutes after he came off the bench - with the speedster forcing his way between Alan Baro and Broxham to win a bouncing ball before firing his shot past Thomas.

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Besart Berisha could have struck an immediate response a minute later when his flick from Marco Rojas' cross almost beat Vukovic at the near post but that was as close as Victory came to an equaliser for the rest of the match.

Donachie was sent off for a two-footed challenge on Alex Brosque in the 71st minute and Sydney saw out the match fairly comfortably to take a significant step towards the A-League premiership.

 

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