Ola Toivonen scored on his first A-League start for Melbourne Victory as a Keisuke Honda penalty sealed a 2-1 win over rivals Sydney in Sunday's 'Big Blue', while leaders Perth Glory beat Central Coast Mariners late on to go four points clear.
Sydney – table-toppers at the end of the 2017-18 regular season – welcomed the Grand Final champions looking to avenge their defeat in last April's play-off semi-finals, but Victory left Jubilee Stadium triumphant once again.
The early exchanges were even before Victory edged ahead in the 23rd minute – Toivonen finding the bottom-right corner from the edge of the box following good play by James Troisi.
Sydney levelled just after the half-hour mark, as Terry Antonis felled Paulo Retre in the box and Adam Le Fondre scored on the rebound after seeing his initial penalty saved.
The second spot-kick of the match ultimately settled the contest.
Honda was sent tumbling by Jop van der Linden and the Japanese midfielder converted to seal the points and inflict a first defeat of the season on Sydney.
FULL TIME | 1-2 | take all three points in this afternoon’s . November 25, 2018
In the day's later kick-off, rock-bottom Mariners could not hold on to what would have been a commendable point away to Glory.
A Tomislav Mrcela own goal nine minutes before the break cancelled out Christopher Ikonomidis' well-worked Glory opener.
Shane Lowry put Glory ahead again in the 61st minute when meeting a cross, but Aiden O'Neill – on loan from Burnley – found the top-left corner with a stunning 25-yard strike soon after.
Mariners' Kalifa Cisse was given his marching orders in stoppage time for a late tackle on Ikonomidis, and the Glory midfielder capitalised soon after, netting the last-gasp winner from close range after Neil Kilkenny's fine cross.
FULL TIME | 3-2 | secure the win with a late goal from Ikonomidis!November 25, 2018
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.