Sydney FC has all but wrapped up its spot in the A-League top two after a resounding 4-1 win over Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium.
The Reds were punished by a ruthless performance from the Sky Blues, Adelaide sinking to its heaviest home defeat of the season and severely damaging its top six hopes in the process.
It was the perfect start for the Sky Blues, they raced to a one goal lead after a trademark delivery from Rhyan Grant allowed Adam Le Fondre to score his first goal from open play since returning to Sydney.
Adelaide looked more direct in the opening stages of the second half, Stefan Mauk’s shot clattering off the post before Ryan McGowan arrived in the nick of time to prevent Al Hassan Toure from scoring a certain goal.
But any hope of a Reds comeback was quickly dispelled, two quickfire goals from Adam Le Fondre and Bobo ensuring the Sky Blues would stroll to a crucial victory.
Adelaide defender Jordan Elsey was incredibly lucky to avoid a straight red card for a tackle on Bobo in the dying stages of the first half when he flew in on Bobo with studs raised.
He was however given his marching orders in the second half for a second bookable offence.
Patrick Wood scored with his first touch on the pitch shortly after to inflict more damage on a hapless Reds defence, before youngster Yaya Dukuly gave the home fans something to smile about in the dying stages, converting his first ever A-League goal with a finish from point blank range.
Adam Le Fondre and Bobo started as a front two for just the third time and proved to be lethal in front of goal. Le Fondre scoring two while Bobo converted in his third consecutive game to put on one of the most devastating performances from a strike partnership in recent A-League history.
The scintillating display will sound a warning to Sydney’s finals rivals. With Sydney preparing to lose Ryan McGowan, Rhyan Grant and Andrew Redmayne to international duty after this game, the Sky Blues have shown they will still be a force to be reckoned with come finals time.
After being touted as a potential midfield option for Carl Veart’s side since the start of the season, the Reds finally employed Javi Lopez in a defensive midfield role for the first time.
The Spaniard looked comfortable on the ball and managed to nullify the threat of Milos Ninkovic for large portions of the game, however Adelaide’s midfield three of Lopez, Mauk and Cavallo appeared to lack creativity as they struggled to break Sydney down.
In an attacking sense the Reds – like they often have this season – lacked the final ball from midfield to create consistent goalscoring opportunities. Adelaide has now failed to score more than one goal in eight consecutive games.
While Sydney’s sensational display will be pleasing, another outstanding display from Rhyan Grant showed what the Sky Blues will be missing when he jets off to Kuwait to represent Australia next week.
Grant provided the inch-perfect cross for Adam Le Fondre’s opening goal, and managed to keep in-form winger Craig Goodwin quiet throughout, Goodwin scarcely finding room to operate down Adelaide’s left hand side.
Adelaide United 1 (Yaya Dukuly 89m) Sydney FC 4 (Adam Le Fondre 6m, 54m, Bobo 58m, Patrick Wood 71m)
Referee: Daniel Elder
VAR: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Adelaide United: 4-3-3
No 1. James Delianov; 4. Ryan Strain (2. Michael Marrone 69m), 23. Jordan Elsey, 22. Michael Jakobsen, 7. Ryan Kitto, 21. Javi Lopez, 27. Josh Cavallo (18. Joe Caletti 77m), 8. Stefan Mauk (6. Louis D’Arrigo 77m), 26. Ben Halloran (24. Pacifique Niyongabire) 69m), 35. Al Hassan Toure (19. Yaya Dukuly 83m), 11. Craig Goodwin
Unused Subs: 3. George Timotheou, 33. Dakota Ochsenham
Manager: Carl Veart
Yellow Cards: Elsey
Red Cards: Elsey
Sydney FC: 4-2-2-2
1. Andrew Redmayne, 23. Rhyan Grant, 6. Ryan McGowan, 4. Alex Wilkinson, 16. Joel King (3. Ben Warland 75m), 26. Luke Brattan (8. Paulo Retre 69m), 17. Anthony Caceres, 11. Kosta Barbarouses, 10. Milos Ninkovic (21. Harry Van der Saag 75m), 99. Adam Le Fondre (33. Patrick Wood 69m), 9. Bobo (18. Luke Ivanovic 79m)
Unused Subs: 2. Patrick Flottman, 30. Adam Pavlesic
Manager: Steve Corica
Yellow Cards: Wood, Van der Saag
Red Cards: None
Image Supplied – Getty