Wanderers stretch A-League streak to 10
Western Sydney have moved a step closer to wrapping up the minor premiership in their debut A-League season with a typically hard-working 3-1 win over Melbourne Heart.
Labinot Haliti scored once in each half and Iacopo La Rocca notched a late sealer as the league newcomers stretched their record winning streak to 10 and all but extinguished the Heart's finals hopes at AAMI Park on Saturday.
The Wanderers climbed eight points clear of second-placed Central Coast.
That means if the Mariners don't secure maximum points against Brisbane Roar on Sunday, Western Sydney will have wrapped up the premiers' plate with two rounds to spare.
The Heart remain second last, with Saturday's loss their second home defeat in the space of five days.
They also lost veteran defender Simon Colosimo, who was sent off for picking up two yellow cards in the space of four minutes in the second half.
The match was tight until Haliti completed an expertly worked team goal in the 28th minute.
It started with Mark Bridge dribbling past a defender into the box and crossing to Aaron Mooy, whose neat pass set up Haliti for his accurate finish.
The Heart's Sudanese-born refugee Golgol Mebrahtu, given a rare start as one of five changes to Melbourne's starting side, levelled the game in the 39th minute with a wonder strike.
Receiving 20m out, he spun and shot between two fast-closing defenders, with the ball still rising as it scorched past keeper Ante Covic.
Mebrahtu almost set up another goal from a free kick approaching halftime, but Josip Tadic was ruled off-side as he possibly touched home a goal-bound Richard Garcia header.
Instead, it was the visitors who took the lead 15 minutes into the second half, Haliti smashing the ball home from the middle of the box, after La Rocca threaded a pass through a sea of defenders.
La Rocca needed no help for the 88th-minute sealer, a crisp strike from long range.