Sydney hit Phoenix with first-half blitz

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March 30, 2015 11:20:17 UK

Ernie Merrick’s Phoenix side were well beaten by Sydney FC.

Sydney FC boosted their A-League premiership chances with an impressive 3-0 win away to leaders Wellington Phoenix.

The Sky Blues set the tone for the other Australia v New Zealand clash, the Cricket World Cup final, as they dominated from the start at Westpac Stadium.

Wellington had the chance to take a big step towards the Premier’s Plate by picking up a fifth straight victory, but they failed to fire and saw their former striker Shane Smeltz score against them.

The Phoenix, deprived of a number of key players through international duty, fell behind after nine minutes and the contest was as good as over by half-time as they conceded three goals.

Senegalese transfer window capture Jacques Faty had time to control the ball on his thigh before volleying past Glen Moss after the home side failed to clear a corner.

Smeltz notched his 84th A-League goal on 28 minutes when a scuffed shot from Chris Naumoff fell to him with only Moss to beat. Wellington appealed for offside, but the former New Zealand international was being played onside by Matthew Ridenton.

Worse followed five minutes before the break as Ernie Merrick’s side struggled to deal with another corner. From a goalmouth scramble, Seb Ryall saw his shot deflect home off defender Manny Muscat for an own goal.

There was no way back for the Phoenix and having midfielder Albert Riera sent off midway through the second half rubbed salt into their wounds.

The Spaniard was given his second yellow card for a foul on Milos Dimitrijevic, with Smeltz following him down the tunnel two minutes later as he was red-carded for kicking out at Ben Sigmund.

The victory extended Sydney FC’s season-long unbeaten away record and was fully merited, as they had 17 shots on goal to the home side’s six.

Sydney FC are 23/20 to win their next game against Adelaide United, who are 9/4 with the draw 12/5.

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