Sydney Keep Melbourne Scoreless in Top of The Clash.

A solid defensive performance from Sydney FC saw off a misfiring Melbourne Victory to secure a vital away point in a 0-0 draw at Etihad Stadium.

A solid defensive performance from Sydney FC saw off a misfiring Melbourne Victory to secure a vital away point in a 0-0 draw at Etihad Stadium. With only three points separating the top two teams of the Hyundai A-League, neither side was willing to give away any advantage in front the 27 344 strong crowd, the second highest crowd of the season.

“It was a very tough game for us but in the end it was a very good point for us” said Steve Corica after the game. “We definitely came here for three points and in the end both teams had their chances. We have now been to Melbourne twice and they haven-t been able to beat us down here. Coming to Melbourne is difficult but from two games we have managed 4 points and have kept two clean sheets”

Melbourne pressured right from the start with a cross from Tom Pedeljak headed out of danger by Sydney-s Swiss defender Stephan Keller inside the first minute of the game.

The Victory were unable to capitalise from the subsequent corner although they eventually wrestled the ball back off the Sky Blues, Robbie Kruse was able to pass through to Victory danger man Archie Thompson who's shot could only manage to hit the crossbar. The goal threat was not over for Sydney as the ball rebounded back into play and was headed back into the box only for Sydney-s Clint Bolton to regain possession.

Sydney-s first chance on goal came in the 12th minute after a Sung-Hwan Byun free kick was hit straight to keeper Mitchell Langerak and the Sky Blues best opportunity came in the 22nd minute after a through ball found Steve Corica running on goal who passed left to an unmarked Alex Brosque. With plenty of time to shoot Brosque could only managed to hit the keeper and would be disappointed to miss such an opportunity.

Thompson was almost unmarkable in the first half and seemed to be in every attack on goal, his presence was heavily felt throughout the half and it was Thompson in the 35th minute who positioned himself perfectly for a midfield pass to gain possession, turn on goal, evade Byun but only manage to hit the side netting.

Thompson again had a shot hit the side netting on the 44th minute and the Melbourne fans were celebrating after they thought a penalty was given when Robbie Kruse went down in the box but referee Srebre Delovski ruled that the experienced Stephan Keller had done nothing wrong.

The second half began like the first with Melbourne Victory threatening in attack with an attempt missed by Carlos Hernandez within the first minute and it was Hernandez again who in the 52nd minute who hit a long shot wide from outside the box.

A 56th minute shot by Matthew Kemp was powerfully hit trough yellow smoke from a flare thrown onto the playing arena but Bolton was able to see through the smokescreen to make a comfortable save.

The home crowd were celebrating early again after believing Melbourne had scored when a Tom Pondeljak shot hit the side netting as Victory continually pressuring the goal, leading Sydney 18 to 3 on scoring shots but could only manage two shots on target.

The Victory continued to pressure from the midfield and when a 70th minute header by Archie Thompson went narrowly over the cross bar you got the sense that it was not going to be Melbourne-s night. It was against the run of play in the 79th when a Shannon Cole right field cross found Alex Brosque in the goal square but Brosque could only manage to head the ball over the goal although the play began Sydney-s only dominant time in the match.

The Sky Blues threatened after a long midfield pass from Corica put Brosque through on goal only to be called offside.

Sydney began to apply the pressure with Karol Kisel pushing through the midfield and shooting wide of the goal in the 83rd and a defensive mistake by the Victory in the 85th minute saw a header fall straight to Steve Corica who attempted to shoot across his body only for the shot to go wide.

A selfless pass from Terry McFlynn into the box to set up Alex Brosque was miss-hit wide was Sydney-s last real chance on goal and despite Melbourne applying pressure throughout the game the Victory were unable to convert any of their 21 shots on goal.

Sydney Coach Vitezslav Lavicka was pleased with the away result. “Melbourne came out hard which we knew they would, they were aggressive and pressing us. Our defence stayed disciplined and achieved us a good result" he said.

With only seven games remaining in the season and with both teams still only separated by 3 points, Sydney play Melbourne in the final round of the season in what could be the title deciding game.

The Sky Blues next chance to close the gap on Melbourne is this Wednesday the 23rd of December against the Central Coast Mariners whilst Melbourne play North Queensland on the 27th.

Match Detail

Melbourne Victory FC: 0 Sydney FC: 0

Melbourne Victory Line-up: 1. Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 2. Kevin MUSCAT, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 7. Matthew KEMP, 10. Archie THOMPSON, 12. Rodrigo VARGAS (c), 15. Tom PONDELJAK, 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ (13. Nathan ELASI), 21. Robbie KRUSE (27. Sutee SUKSOMKIT 84-), 22. Nick WARD, 23. Adrian Leijer.

Substitutes Not Used: 17. Matthew FOSCHINI, 20. Glen MOSS (gk).

Yellow Cards: 6. Leigh BROXHAM 43-. Red Cards: Nil. Goals: Nil.

Sydney FC Line-up: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3. Stephan KELLER, 6. Karol KISEL, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 10. Steve CORICA (c), 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN.

Substitutes Not Used: 7. Brendan GAN, 16. Chris PAYNE, 17 Matthew JURMAN, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk)

Yellow Cards: 15. Terry MCFLYNN 25-, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK 58- Red Cards: Nil. Goals: Nil.

Referee: Srebre DELOVSKI Attendance: 27 344 at Etihad Stadium Melbourne