Sydney FC have strengthened their hold on top spot in the A-League with a comfortable 3-0 win over Melbourne Victory, but saw Alexander Baumjohann sent off.
Sydney FC have consolidated their hold on top spot in the A-League with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.
Adam Le Fondre opened the scoring in the 27th minute, then teed up ex-Victory forward Kosta Barbarouses to double the lead in the 53rd.
Alexander Baumjohann rounded out Friday's win in the 85th.
"In the final third was some very good football to obviously get the three goals," Sydney coach Steven Corica said.
"I was very pleased about the defensive effort today because we've spoken about it - I think that's one area we can improve on and we did it today.
"Clean sheet was the most important thing so that was great to see the boys work extremely hard for that."
The Sky Blues' win was soured by a late red card to Baumjohann, while Victory's Leigh Broxham was also sent off.
Victory were unable to call on new signing Marco Rojas, as the Kiwi winger's international clearance didn't come through in time to name him in their team, but skipper Ola Toivonen returned to their starting line-up.
Victory's Ben Carrigan made his A-League starting debut at centre-back, while for Sydney FC, Rhyan Grant and Luke Brattan returned from suspension.
Toivonen, Migjen Basha and Andrew Nabbout all struck shots straight at Sydney goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne in the opening 13 minutes, and Victory would come to rue their failure to convert those opportunities.
Baumjohann set up Sydney's opener, collecting the ball and beating two opponents before enabling Le Fondre to tap home past Lawrence Thomas.
The goalkeeper arguably kept Victory in the game in the first half, producing a superb save to save Brattan's free kick in the 34th minute before also leaping to deny Milos Ninkovic in the 42nd.
Victory had a golden chance to equalise in the 45th minute after a clever build-up from Elvis Kamsoba and Adama Traore, but Robbie Kruse's tame shot left Redmayne with little work to do.
The hosts also spurned another gilt-edged opportunity in the 49th minute.
Kruse was released down the left wing and sent a delightful cross to Toivonen at the back post, but the Swedish international powered his header over the bar.
Sydney made it 2-0 just four minutes later.
Le Fondre found Baumjohann, who worked the ball back to the striker to tee up Barbarouses, who slid between the Victory defenders to toe-poke home.
The Sky Blues rarely looked troubled from there, and made it 3-0 five minutes before the end of regulation.
Luke Ivanovic found Milos Ninkovic, who swept the ball across goal for Baumjohann to power home.
"We have to find some positives - we cannot stop here," Victory interim coach Carlos Salvachua said.
"Of course no-one is happy today, in the dressing room and outside.
"But we have to find (form like) the first 20 minutes of the first half, or the first 20 minutes of the second half - this is the way that we want to continue building as a team."
The contest ended tetchily in added time when Broxham dragged down Baumjohann, who then caught the Victory defender with an arm in the face.
Broxham received his second yellow card, while Baumjohann was handed a straight red.