Caceres fires Sydney FC to Big Blue success

Victorious Sydney FC have come out on the right side of the latest Big Blue controversy to shore up sixth position in the A-League Men and leave Melbourne Victory nailed to the bottom of the ladder.

The matchup between the competition's two biggest and most successful clubs frequently produces a major talking point and that was again the case in Sydney's 1-0 win at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.

Anthony Caceres scored the game's only goal In the 35th minute, firing into the roof of the net from close range on a tight angle after receiving a pass from Max Burgess following a corner.

Victory were furious as it appeared the corner should not have been awarded, with replays suggesting the last touch came off Sydney's Alex Wilkinson.

Melbourne coach Tony Popovic strode on to the pitch at halftime and could be seen talking animatedly to referee Alex King.

"It definitely shouldn't have been a corner," Popovic said.

"Lets not talk about what I said to Alex, its a bad error.

"If you're not sure, you can't give that. From where he was standing a good 15 metres behind the play, its impossible to see."

Asked by the Ten Network and Paramount Plus if he thought it was a corner Wilkinson said "it touched me, I don't know if someone touched it after."

Sydney finished the match with 10 men as Burgess was dismissed in the 84th minute after the Sydney midfielder caught Victory substitute Bruce Kamau in the back with his right boot during a tussle near the sideline.

Caceres' match-winner came from Sydney's first legitimate shot, after Robert Mak's classy 24th-minute finish was overturned following an offside ruling from the VAR.

The win - just their third in nine home games - moved sixth-placed Sydney back to within a point of Wellington, who earlier on Saturday had scored a 2-1 win over Newcastle.

The defeat was another big blow to last-placed Victory's fading hopes of making the finals as they fell nine points off the pace.

Neither side was particularly fluent in a match with plenty of intensity but little in the way of clear-cut chances.

Victory had 15 shots to Sydney's two and had all nine second half attempts but neither goalkeeper was troubled much.

"We're missing something with the final pass, final shot and final decision," Popovic said.

"It's probably, defensively, one off our best performances in the last couple of years since I've been at the club, an outstanding performance.

"That's what's really frustrating me, that we come to Sydney, we're at the bottom and we totally dominate a game and get nothing from it."

Sydney have taken 13 points from their last six games but coach Steve Corica admitted they could improve significantly on Saturday's lacklustre performance.

"I think we've played better and got no reward out of games," Corica said.

"We were just a little bit sloppy in the second half especially, we gave the ball away a little bit too cheaply.

"Obviously, we were trying to defend our lead, maybe we should have just kept going forward.