Sydney FC ruined Australia Day for the 24,000 Melbourne Victory fans who entered the Etihad Stadium with hopes of redemption from last weekend's embarrassment against Wellington Phoenix. Incredibly, the Victory doubled down on their horrible defeat in Wellington by shipping five more goals, this time at home, casting further doubts as to their credentials as a top level team.
The Sky Blues were already clear 3-0 by the 25th minute with Ranko Despotovic scoring again, Alessandro Del Piero converting a penalty and Seb Ryall compounding the home side's dismay with a sharp run and poked finish. The Victory, who were already without the recently departed Mitch Nichols and the injured Mark Milligan, lost Adrian Leijer in a scary play near the half-hour. Leijer was stretchered off the park after being knocked unconscious, though he was later given a clean bill of health.
Though they began the second half brightly, a disastrous Nathan Coe clearance led directly to Sydney's fourth goal as Despotovic played Del Piero in for his second goal and a 4-0 lead nine minutes into the second period. From there, even though the Victory had inserted Tom Rogic at halftime, the home side simply could not muster anything to worry the Sky Blues. When Nick Carle scored three minutes from time, the video boards showed a despondent Kevin Muscat and Melbourne trudged off with heads down and a sudden fear of dropping to the bottom of the finals-qualified group of six. Though they remain three points clear of seventh place Perth Glory, the Victory have played a game more than everyone else but Western Sydney Wanderers.
Next up for the Victory is a long distance trip to Perth where things could get even worse. The game against the Glory at the nib Stadium comes on Friday January 31 and gives Melbourne an ill-time quick turnaround. Meanwhile, buoyed by their first win since December 15, Sydney jumped all the way to fifth place, only a point shy of the Victory with a game in hand. Sydney will play Melbourne Heart on Friday night at AAMI Park with a view of fourth place looming large.
SYD Despotovic (McFlynn) 11'
SYD Del Piero (pen) 20'
SYD Ryall (Gligor) 25'
SYD Del Piero (Despotovic) 54'
SYD Carle 87'
Melbourne Victory: Coe; Murnane, Ansell, Leijer (Geria 31'), Galloway; Broxham, Mahazi; Nabbout (Rogic 46'), Thompson, Barbarouses; Troisi (Finkler 76')
Unused substitutes: Thomas, Pain
Sydney FC: Janjetovic; Abbas, Petkovic, Jurman, Ryall (Petkovski 69'); Dimitrijevic, McFlynn (Carle 46'), Gligor (Thompson 61'); Gameiro, Del Piero, Despotovic
Unused substitutes: Necevski, Urosevski