Sydney still daring to dream
Sydney FC have set their sights on winning their final three games of the season in the hope it will be enough to secure a dream A-League finals berth.
Sydney's 2-0 win over Perth on Saturday night extended their unbeaten streak to five games, but more importantly moved the Sky Blues (29 points from 27 games) to within six points of sixth-placed Wellington.
Although it's still a sizeable gap, Sydney's chances are boosted due to the fact they round out their season against fellow top-six hopefuls Newcastle (31 points from 26 games), Wellington (35 points from 27 games) and Melbourne Heart (33 points from 28 games).
Sydney coach Vitezslav Lavicka admitted his team had to do everything right plus rely on other results to go their way in order to snatch sixth spot.
"We know our situation, it's not easy in this moment for us," Lavicka said.
"But mathematically we still have a chance to reach finals, we still have motivation.
"We know we have tough games away but if we keep this effort, this unity, I think still in with a chance.
"Easy to say (to win our last three games), more difficult to do it, but we still believe.
"We are happy because we keep the chance to reach it.
"Every good result brings us more confidence.
"We just need to try to reach as best as we can."
Captain Terry McFlynn was equally hopeful his team could leapfrog their rivals for sixth spot, despite Wellington's 1-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday putting the Phoenix in the box seat.
"Confidence is a wonderful thing," McFlynn said.
"There's a little bit of pressure off us, people had already written us off.
"We just have to go about our own job and keep doing what we're doing and hopefully we can sneak in the back door."
The return to full fitness of star recruit Nick Carle has come at a good time for Sydney, with the former Socceroo scoring his first goal for the club in the 2-0 win over Perth.
Bruno Cazarine added Sydney's second goal as Perth struggled to convert two golden chances in the second half, with Robbie Fowler and Mile Sterjovski firing wide with the goal at their mercy.