Victory pile misery on Sydney

Carlos Hernandez has ended his goal drought in his best display of the season to spark Melbourne Victory to a 3-0 win over Sydney FC in the Hyundai A-League grand final rematch at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

Carlos Hernandez has ended his goal drought in his best display of the season to spark Melbourne Victory to a 3-0 win over Sydney FC in the Hyundai A-League grand final rematch at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

Having gone four games without a win Melbourne were desperate to reclaim some momentum and it was a masterclass from Hernandez, who hadn't scored since February 18's first leg of the major semi-final against the same opponent at the same venue, who led the charge in front of 17,299 fans.

Hernandez constantly cut holes through the Sydney FC midfield throughout the game and having set up several chances, including Rody Vargas' 19th-minute opener, he scored himself just after half-time to all but kill off the visitors before Robbie Kruse did so in the 89th minute.

The three points take the Victory to fourth spot with 14 points from their 11 games so far, although Gold Coast United and Wellington Phoenix are still to play this weekend, while defending champion Sydney remains anchored to the bottom with just four points from their 10 games.

The first real shot of the game came from an unlikely source in Grant Brebner following a Hernandez corner but Liam Reddy had the long-range effort comfortably covered before Hernandez looked certain to break his scoring drought in the 10th minute only to be denied by the crossbar.

Almost immediately at the other end Alex Brosque was played into space and he fired at goal but Michael Petkovic had it covered and within 60 seconds Ricardinho went for goal after being played in by Hernandez but Reddy was again on the spot.

The goal finally did come for Victory though after Kruse had been felled about 35m from goal Hernandez curled the free kick into the heart of the box and Vargas rose unmarked to send a glancing header into the net, even though Reddy got both gloves to the ball.

Hernandez went close with a curling free kick in the 32nd minute before Sydney's best chance of the half came moments before the break when Brosque's blocked free kick fell for Shannon Cole but a diving Petkovic forced it out for a corner.

Hernandez played Ricardinho in again only for the Brazilian to cut his shot across goal and just right of the post but it took the home side just two minutes after the resumption to double its lead when Pondeljak floated a ball into the box and Hernandez loped in unmarked to nod home.

The first substitution came three minutes later when Nick Carle came on for Stuart Musialik and Pondeljak could have made it 3-0 in the 55th minute but went for placement rather than power and missed wide right.

The first yellow card of the night went to Billy Celeski in the 58th minute and Hernandez put Ricardinho through on the right but Reddy blocked his effort before Geoff Kellaway came in for Mate Dugandzic with 25 minutes left.

Ricardinho followed three minutes later, replaced by Leigh Broxham, and Sydney brought Scott Jamieson on for Sung-Hwan Byun before Vargas almost grabbed a double in the 81st minute and Bruno Cazarine had a header well saved by Petkovic while Marvin Angulo replaced Celeski late.

There was still time for one last highlight for the home fans, whose coach Ernie Merrick and captain Kevin Muscat had been so devastated for the week before in the derby loss to Heart, with Pondeljak playing Kruse in to score despite Reddy getting a hand on it.

Melbourne Victory 3 (Vargas 19, Hernandez 48, Kruse 89) Sydney FC 0