A brace from striker Marc Janko has seen Melbourne City FC succumb to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Sydney FC at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
The Austrian international was the match winner for the away side, netting goals in each half to propel the Sky Blues to equal second on the Hyundai A-League table.
Sydney were forced to hang on at the death after Erik Paartalu ensured a tense finish with his second goal in as many matches in the 88th minute, with the home side unable to steal a share of the spoils.
It was the home side who carved out the opening chance in the sixth minute, with Mate Dugandzic's probing cross narrowly missing the head of the returning Aaron Mooy.
But the Sky Blues managed to open the deadlock in the 10th minute, with Bernie Ibini's excellent cross evading Melbourne City FC keeper Andrew Redmayne, allowing Janko to head into an unguarded net.
Parity could have been restored almost immediately as Melbourne City FC saw a legitimate claim for a penalty waved away by referee Kris Griffiths-Jones.
Damien Duff sprung the offside trap to be one-on-one with Janjetovic but the Sydney FC keeper stood tall, making an excellent block before seemingly bringing down the Irishman inside the area.
Melbourne City FC continued to probe forward in search of an equalizer, with a neat one-two between Liam Miller and Dugandzic allowing the striker to fire a shot that was comfortably held by Janjetovic.
However the away side nearly doubled their advantaged in the 25th minute, as Bojic's brilliant cross was headed against the post by Janko.
Ibini was proving to be a thorn in the side of the home team's defence, as he once again raced clear to put in another fine cross which was thwarted by the strong right hand of Redmayne.
Melbourne City FC's best chance of the half came in the 35th minute, with Dugandzic's header forcing an excellent diving save from Janjetovic after some great work by David Williams.
An errant pass from Melbourne City FC captain Patrick Kisnorbo nearly gifted Sydney FC a second goal, but skipper Alex Brosque could only fire straight at Redmayne, after a clever back-heel from Janko.
Redmayne was once again called upon to prevent the home side from going further behind, producing a fine one-on-one save from Ali Abbas after the Iraqi international found himself in acres of space behind the opposition defence.
Melbourne City FC had a couple of late chances before half-time to level the scores, with Duff forcing Janjetovic to tip around the post and Mooy blazing a volley high and wide after a neat exchange with Duff.
The home side had a golden chance to restore parity only four minutes into the second half, with Janko bailing out Janjetovic with a goal-line clearance after the keeper was beaten to the ball by Paartalu, leaving David Williams with an open goal.
Melbourne City FC began to pose some questions of the Sydney defence – who had kept four consecutive clean sheets prior to tonight match – with Aaron Mooy industrial in midfield.
But it was Janko who killed off the game seven minutes from time, latching on to a wayward back pass from Rob Wielaert and slotting coolly past Redmayne to make it 2-0.
Melbourne City FC were thrown a lifeline back into the match as Paartalu netted his second goal in as many matches, rising high to meet a Duff cross and send a looping header past Janjetovic two minutes from time.
And the home-side twice came close to snatching an equalizer, with Marc Marino denied only by an excellent last ditch tackle and James Brown firing his volley straight at Janjetovic but were unable to find the equaliser in stoppage time
Hyundai A-League Round 7
Saturday, 22 November 2014
Melbourne City FC 1 (Erik Paartalu 88’)
Sydney FC 2 (Marc JANKO 10', 83')
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Melbourne City FC Line-Up: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 3. Robbie WIELAERT, 5. Erik PAARTALU, 6. Aaron MOOY 7. Iain RAMSAY, 11. Damien DUFF, 15. David WILLIAMS (James BROWN 66'), 17. Jason HOFFMAN, 23. Mate DUGANDZIC (Marc MARINO 77'), 24. Patrick KISNORBO (C), 28. Liam MILLER (Jacob MELLING 46’)Substitutes not used: 20. Tando VELAPHI (GK), 27. Ross ARCHIBALD
Yellow Cards: Wielart 79'
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney FC Line-Up: 20. Vedran JANJETOVIC (GK), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 4. Predrag BOJIC, 6. Nikola PETKOVIC, 8. Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 11. Bernie IBINI-ISEI, 14. Alex BROSQUE (C), 16. Alexander GERSBACH, 17. Terry ANTONIS, 21. Marc JANKO, 22 (Smeltz 90+3'). Ali ABBAS (Ryan GRANT 68')Substitutes not used: 1. Ivan NECEVSKI (GK), 13. Christopher NAUMOFF, 25. Aaron CALVER.