A 10-man Sydney FC lead Melbourne City by nine points at the top of the-A-league ladder after coming from 1-0 down to beat them 2-1 in Sydney.
Sydney FC coach Steve Corica belives his side has inflicted a psychological blow on Melbourne City, after the Sky Blues dug deep to beat their closest A-League challengers on Sunday.
A classy finish in the 84th minute from Kosta Barbarouses gave a 10-man Sydney a 2-1 home win over City and a nine-point lead on the A-League ladder.
Barbarouses's precisely curled 84th minute strike of Sunday's game at Netstrata Jubilee Oval, ensured Sydney kept their perfect A-League record at the ground, where they have won seven times in as many games.
The top of the table encounter produced plenty of drama, with Sydney coming from a goal down, after having Socceroos fullback Rhyan Grant sent off in the 25th minute for a late tackle on Nathaniel Atkinson.
It was initially deemed a yellow card offence by referee Kurt Ams, but he changed it to a red after being spoken to by the VAR and reviewing the incident.
Grant and Atkinson were involved in the third minute, when they had a nasty head clash, which left the Sydney star with a bloody head gash.
City had 18 shots to seven, but only one more on target than Sydney, who missed a penalty, but who had almost an equal share of possession despite their their numerical disadvantage.
"Going down to ten men it just showed great character from the boys to dig in and do what they did and Kosta's goal, that's quality," Corica said.
He had no qualms with the red card decision on Grant, who had never been sent off before in his long Sydney career,.
"Maybe on the slow motion replay it looks worse than what it is, but he's not a dirty player at all," Corica said.
City coach Erick Mombaerts said he was frustrated by the result.
"It's hard to lose this game but you have to congratulate Sydney because they protected their goal and they had only one or two chances, (they) were maybe more efficient than us today," Mombaerts said.
"We had good opportunities but not enough, But it's always like that when a team goes back and protects its goal, you have to be more accurate in finishing."
The visitors took the lead in the 22nd minute with a thumping header from Connor Metcalf following a cross from Craig Noone in a successful corner variation.
The Sky Blues equalised through a well-taken 29th minute goal by Adam Le Fondre, who then missed a glorious chance to give his side the lead.
His missed penalty was blocked by the legs of City goalkeeper Tom Glover, after Milos Ninkovic had been fouled in the penalty area by Harrison Delbridge.
Noone also missed a great chance with the score at 1-1, when he was right through on goal, but curled his shot wide.
City had almost all of the chances in the second half, but several of them were from outside the penalty area and Sydney goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne was rarely troubled.