Sydney FC are in crisis and out of the A-League top six after being comprehensively outplayed by Adelaide United in front of their disgruntled fans.
The Sky Blues slumped to a 3-0 loss at the hands of Josep Gombau’s team with goals to Bruce Djite, Fabio Ferreira and Jeronimo Neumann.
Fan protests marked Sydney’s third straight loss on home soil, with one throwing his drink over embattled coach Frank Farina.
The former Socceroos boss said he wouldn’t dwell on the negatives but couldn’t deny his team’s slump.
“It is what it is. You’ve just got to work through these difficult times,” he said.
“People will be frustrated – I’m frustrated.”
Gombau, whose side have taken 18 points in nine games, hailed the Reds’ performance but refused to buy into talk of a late title flourish.
All five round-18 matches were played in NSW for the first time in national league history.
Blistering weather greeted two interstate clubs, Melbourne Heart and Perth Glory in Albury, with the league’s extreme heat policy enforced for the first time.
The Heart emerged victorious 2-1 in the match, which was delayed to the twilight and interspersed with drinks breaks, thanks to a David Williams winner seven minutes from time.
Glory coach Kenny Lowe struck a more conciliatory tone than his mid-week raging at conditions despite temperatures sitting above 40 degrees for much of the match.
“We came in good faith … I’m sure they followed all the protocols that needed to be followed.”
On Friday night, the league’s glamour match between top two-placed Western Sydney and Brisbane produced an entertaining 1-1 draw to maintain the Roar’s seven-point lead.
Labinot Hailit’s deserved equaliser for the Wanderers arrived five minutes from time after Besart Berisha gave the Roar a first-half lead.
In Gosford, Tom Rogic earned his first win in Melbourne Victory colours with a 3-1 triumph over his old side Central Coast Mariners.
James Troisi’s goals either side of an Archie Thompson finish helped Victory overcome Bernie Ibini’s 11th-minute opener and record Victory’s first win in a month.
Ensuring the four NSW clubs stayed winless was Wellington Phoenix, who finished 3-2 in Newcastle with Jason Hicks’ winner in the 71st minute putting them in the top six at Sydney’s expense.
Round 18 wrap
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 1 (Labinot Haliti 85m) drew BRISBANE ROAR 1 (Besart Berisha 14m) at Pirtek Stadium. Crowd: 16,401. Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones.
MELBOURNE VICTORY 3 (James Troisi 45+1m, 62m, Archie Thompson 50m) bt CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 1 (Bernie Ibini 11m) at Bluetongue Stadium. Crowd: 9,138. Referee: Matthew Gillett.
ADELAIDE UNITED 3 (Bruce Djite 16m, Fabio Ferreira 27m, Jeronimo Neumann 80m) bt SYDNEY FC 0 at Allianz Stadium. Crowd: 13,335. Referee: Alan Milliner.
MELBOURNE HEART 2 (Patrick Kisnorbo 51m, David Williams 82m) bt PERTH GLORY 1 (Steven McGarry 73m) at Lavington Sports Ground. Referee: Lucien Laverdue.
WELLINGTON PHOENIX 3 (Carlos Hernandez 21m, Stein Huysegems 33m, Jason Hicks 71m) bt NEWCASTLE JETS 2 (Craig Goodwin 26m, 46m) at Hunter Stadium. Crowd: 10,406. Referee: Shaun Evans.
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