Ninkovic stoppage-time goal wins Big Blue
Published: 06 April 2019 Image credit: Getty Images
Sydney FC 2-1 against Victory at the SCG
The 49th Big Blue was won in second-half stoppage time in a dramatic finale to a game that looked destined for a stalemate.
Milos Ninkovic's deflected shot past a wrong-footed Matthew Acton was against the run of play but reward for a bright first half and attacking intent throughout.
Sydney started the match brightly, bombarding a porous Victory defence and it took only 6 minutes for them to open the scoring.
Midfielder Brandon O'Neill, controlled the ball outside the box, cut inside and unleashed a left-foot screamer for only his second goal of the season.
FC kept up the pressure, Ninkovic firing just over after the Victory back-line was breached again.
But Melbourne got back into the game in the 16th minute - Keisuke Honda showed his class by playing in Kosta Barbarouses who won a challenge and dinked the ball over the keeper.
It was his 10th in 11 matches and looked to signal a flurry of goals that never came, despite both sides' positive attacking play.
The second half was disappointing compared to the first - clear cut chances were rare but the best fell to the away team - Toivonen shot just wide 10 minutes from time, when he should have scored.
The game looked destined for a draw, but in the 93rd minute, substitute Siem De Jong burst down the wing, pulled the cross back to find Ninkovic, whose shot deflected off Carl Valeri to claim the three points.
The win guarantees Sydney a home final in the playoffs and narrows the gap to just 3 points on Perth Glory.
Victory stay in 3rd place and will take solace in an energetic performance.