Sydney FC surged five points clear atop the A-League as Adam Le Fondre spearheaded a 5-1 thumping of Brisbane Roar on Saturday.
Le Fondre notched twice inside the opening 45 minutes and completed his hat-trick near the end to help the champions increase the gap to second-placed Melbourne City.
Milos Ninkovic scored in between the striker’s first-half double and substitute Trent Buhagiar made it four a minute after his 85th-minute introduction.
The fleet-footed forward set up Le Fondre’s third moments later and only a stoppage-time Roy O’Donovan penalty prevented Brisbane from suffering complete humiliation.
Robbie Fowler’s men have lost four of eight games this term to sit second from bottom.
— Hyundai A-League (@ALeague) December 7, 2019
Wellington Phoenix earlier snatched a late 2-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers to pile the pressure on Fowler’s former Liverpool team-mate Markus Babbel.
Babbel had been under pressure ahead of the trip to Westpac Stadium and his job appears to be in danger following a fourth successive defeat.
Ulises Davila converted Wellington’s winner from the spot in the 89th minute after his shot struck Pirmin Schwegler in the arm, which led to a penalty following a VAR review.
Jaushua Sotirio had opened the scoring against his former club shortly after the interval, before Nicolai Muller dragged the Wanderers level in the 64th minute.
But the visitors were unable to hang on for a point and find themselves behind fourth-placed Wellington on goal difference.
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