Melbourne City has suffered its second loss in succession, going down to Premiers Sydney FC 3-0 on Saturday night.
A brace by Brazilian striker Bobo rounded off by captain Alex Brosque secured the points for the home side as a strong second half performance from the Sky Blues saw City overrun at Allianz Stadium.
The result leaves City bogged down in the race for third spot as the search for a home Final continues with two matches remaining.
City Head Coach Michael Valkanis made five changes to the eleven that lost to Western Sydney with the first change coming in goal with the return of Dean Bouzanis to the lineup.
Neil Kilkenny would miss the contest with a back injury, opening the door to youngster Denis Genreau to make his second senior start while Manny Muscat moved into the central defensive position as cover for the suspended Osama Malik.
Anthony Caceres also dropped to the bench after a midfield re-shuffle as Nicolas Colazo slotted himself on the left while Tim Cahill returned to the eleven after his stint with the Socceroos.
It was a timid opening to the match with a real finals atmosphere between the sides as City had so much on the line for City with third spot up for grabs.
The visitors were on the front foot early and were nearly rewarded as Bruno Fornaroli won a free-kick on the edge of the area. The Uruguayan stepped up to the dead ball to shave the post in the first real chance of the match.
City maintained possession of the ball, allowing Sydney to sit back, but a long ball into the Sky Blues penalty area had almost undone Sydney with Rhyan Grant making a rare error. Tim Cahill was on hand to pounce on the ball but Aaron Calver came to the rescue, clearing to safety.
It was then Fornaroli who would try the spectacular after 29 minutes as a perfectly lofted cross from Ivan Franjic saw the striker try an audacious bicycle kick that went well into the stands.
The balance of play turned into Sydney’s favour however and two chances to Bobo and Milos Ninkovic almost saw the home side take the lead in the space of three minutes with the Brazilians heading just over and the Serbian’s strike fizzing over the bar.
The Premiers flexed their muscle in the second half however and their first chance came after 52 minutes as Ivan Franjic cleared Grant’s effort off the line.
It was only 5 minutes later Sydney would take the lead as City failed to deal with Michael Zullo’s long throw. The Sydney captain would make the most of the situation, heading out the back door and flicking his effort past Bouzanis.
Sydney would then double their lead after 64 minutes with Zullo being the man again to set-up Bobo with his wayward strike fortuitously heading into the path of the striker, sliding to finish into an empty net.
The result was then sealed in extra time by the Brazilian as he nodded home at the back post to give his side their third goal and the three points on the night.
It’s a return to AAMI Park for City for the final home match of the regular season against Adelaide United on Friday night.
With the race heating up to secure the all-important third spot, three points against the in-form Reds will be a must if City have any chance of making sure they will be at AAMI Park in week one of the Finals Series.
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