SYDNEY — Sydney FC beat the first-place Wellington Phoenix 3-0 on Sunday to tighten up an already close race for the top positions in Australia's A-League.
Sydney maintained its unbeaten away record this season. Striker Shane Smeltz's goal to give Sydney a 3-0 lead ensured the result was secure before halftime in the New Zealand capital.
Both sides finished the game with 10 men after Albert Riera and Smeltz were given red cards.
With the win, Sydney FC joined Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory on 41 points, just one behind Wellington.
Adelaide, on 37 points, had a chance to move closer to the leading teams when it played Newcastle later Sunday.
Perth defender John Risdon's goal in the 88th minute, a 23-yard strike, gave the Glory a 3-2 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers.
The Melbourne Victory beat Central Coast 2-1. The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute on Isaka Cernak's goal before Brazilian midfielder Guilherme Finkler's first of two goals leveled five minutes before halftime.
Finkler's second in the 77th minute came on a curling shot to the right-hand corner from the edge of the penalty area.
Melbourne City beat the defending champion Brisbane Roar 1-0 as Jonatan Germano's fifth-minute goal stood up for the winners.
City holds down sixth place — the final playoff spot — by eight points over Brisbane, but coach John van 't Schip said the margin was deceiving because the Roar has played one less game.
"We have to work very hard still — we know that," van 't Schip said.
Van 't Schip's team, affiliated for the first time this season with English Premier League side Manchester City, has won three games in a row.
"If you draw or lose the game they're very close with a game in hand, but now there's a gap," the City coach said. "We have to make sure that we continue gaining points and make it difficult for Brisbane to catch us."
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