Sydney FC 1 Central Coast Mariners 0: Premiers' Plate within Sky Blues' grasp

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Melbourne Victory must defeat Perth Glory to delay Sydney FC's seemingly inevitable coronation as A-League premiers after the Sky Blues recorded a 1-0 victory at home to Central Coast Mariners on Friday. 

The win takes Sydney 14 points clear in first place with four rounds of the regular season still to come. Anything less than all three points for Victory at AAMI Park on Saturday will confirm Graham Arnold's team, who have lost just once in the league this season, as premiers. They are also hot favourites to claim their third championship by triumphing in the subsequent finals. 

Sydney struggled for their usual fluency but still largely controlled proceedings at Allianz Arena.

Their cause was helped by an early strike from Filip Holosko, who struck what proved to be the only goal of the game in the eighth minute.

Alex Brosque played Michael Zullo into space down the left and the full-back launched a brilliant first-time cross to the back post, where Holosko got to the ball ahead of his marker and scored a well-taken volley with the inside of his right foot.

The hosts should have made it 2-0 in the 75th minute, Bernie Ibini winning a soft penalty under a clumsy challenge from Liam Rose, only to see his weak attempt from the spot saved by Ivan Necevski.

Three minutes later, the forward was denied again, this time by the crossbar, while a smart left-handed save from Necevski kept out Bobo with 10 minutes to go, but the Mariners proved unable to punish Sydney for those missed opportunities.