Melbourne City hit the ground running in their first outing since the A-League break to collect an invaluable 2-0 win over recently crowned premiers Sydney FC.
Craig Noone and Jamie Maclaren netted within 10 second-half minutes on Saturday to give City a thoroughly deserved victory over a flat Sydney FC at Sydney's Olympic Stadium.
The win leaves City with a firm grip on second spot -- they are three points clear of Wellington Phoenix -- and the sought-after double chance in the finals.
City made all the early running and forced Sydney FC goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne into regular action, notably pushing away efforts from Noone and Florin Berenguer among six first-half saves.
In their first match at their temporary home at Homebush Bay, the Melburnians finally got their reward on the scoresheet 12 minutes after the break when Noone took advantage of poor control from defender Paulo Retre before rounding an exposed Redmayne.
Maclaren soon doubled the advantage with a smart finish inside the penalty area, taking outright control of the competition's golden boot race in the process.
It was a second defeat on the trot for the Sky Blues, who resumed after the break with a fortunate win over the Phoenix.