Patrick Kisnorbo has hailed the spirit of his Melbourne City side after Mathew Leckie's 91st-minute winner helped secure a 2-1 win over Sydney FC in the A-League Men grand final rematch on Saturday night.

Paulo Retre's own goal opened the scoring for City, before Milos Ninkovic levelled for the home side at Jubilee Oval in the second half.

But just as the game was drawing to a close, Leckie cut in from the right flank and fired in to seal an eighth win of the season for the visitors.

Kisnorbo's side moved two points clear of second-placed Western United, although the latter have two games in hand and play Perth Glory on Sunday.

"I thought we showed great character," Kisnorbo said.

"We need to improve in the performance but the players deserve a lot of credit and the character was phenomenal.

"You're not going to dominate every single game - even though you'd like to - but we showed something else which I'm very proud of."

For Steve Corica, who was celebrating his 100th league game in charge of the Sky Blues, this was a familiar tale of Sydney failing to take their chances.

Adam Le Fondre, Rhyan Grant and Anthony Caceres all had opportunities to give the hosts the advantage inside 30 minutes but none of them were able to fashion an opener.

City hit the lead when they surged up field on the counter through Jamie Maclaren and he squared from the left for Leckie.

Andrew Redmayne prevented Leckie from scoring but the deflection bounced into Retre's path, cannoned off his shins and trickled into the net.

After failing to capitalise from open play, Sydney's equaliser came by way of a set-piece when Anthony Caceres' corner was poorly cleared by Curtis Good.

The City defender could only poke the ball away as far as Ninkovic and the midfielder rifled in from close range to bring his team level in the 53rd minute.

Corica soon opted to bring striker Bobo into the contest to replace Le Fondre.

But the Brazilian, who has been at his most prolific in this fixture, was unable to shake things up for Sydney.

Leckie would not be so wasteful as the clock ticked into added time and he cut in from the right.

The City forward's strike from the edge of the box bounced off the post and past Redmayne to seal their third straight win.

"I'm shattered for the players because they did their jobs and were the better team," Corica said.

"We've ended up with nothing so there's disappointment and frustration for everyone.

"They're down but that's the way football goes sometimes. We need to take it on the chin. Sooner or later the luck is going to change."