A-League Review: Ugly clash mars Sydney victory
Sydney FC returned to the top of the A-League after a 3-1 victory over Brisbane Roar that was marred by an ugly incident and a double dismissal.
Graham Arnold's side were 2-0 up within 15 minutes at Allianz Stadium thanks to David Carney's goal from close range and Adrian Mierzejewski's penalty after Jacob Pepper handled the ball in the area.
The Sky Blues looked set for a straightforward victory, but the match turned sour after 75 minutes when Roar centre-back Avraam Papadopoulos spat in the face of Sydney striker Matt Simon, who shoved the experienced Greek defender in retaliation.
Both players were shown straight red cards by referee Alex King after a lengthy Video Assistant Referee delay and it was the hosts who were quickest to compose themselves, with full-back Sebastien Ryall heading their third goal after Jordy Buijs' free-kick picked him out at the far post.
Jack Hingert scored a late consolation for the visitors but the result left John Aloisi's side with four defeats from eight games this season.
Fellow strugglers Wellington Phoenix suffered a 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Central Coast Mariners, who took the lead after 39 minutes when Andrija Kaluderovic headed a corner into his own net via the post.
Daniel De Silva doubled the Mariners' lead within nine minutes of the second half and a Phoenix comeback was all but ruled out when Andrew Hoole's shot from the edge of the penalty area found the top-right corner of the net after 67 minutes.
Dario Vidosic did give the home crowd a glimmer of hope when he scored with a 71st-minute header, but a classy Mariners performance was capped by a fourth goal when substitute Trent Buhagiar broke clear and slid the ball past Lewis Italiano in injury time.