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Honda scores as Melbourne Victory beat Sydney in A-League

November 25, 2018

SYDNEY (AP) — Japan star Keisuke Honda scored from the penalty spot Sunday to give the Melbourne Victory a 2-1 win over Sydney FC in a meeting of the glamor clubs in Australian football’s A-League.

Jop Van Der Linden brought down Honda in the 71st minute and the former AC Milan star converted the resulting penalty for his third goal in five A-League matches this season.

Earlier, a contentious penalty to Englishman Adam Le Fondre for Sydney canceled out Sweden striker Ova Toivonen’s maiden A-League goal for Melbourne.

Honda’s winning goal denied Sydney revenge for last year’s semifinal loss to Melbourne and lifted the defending champions into second place on the ladder.

Melbourne coach Kevin Muscat praised his players’ composure as they overcame the blow of Le Fondre’s goal. Terry Antonis was ruled to have fouled Sydney winger Paul Retre from behind, though the contact appeared to be minimal and Le Fondre’s spot kick was initially saved by Lawrence Thomas before he drove home the rebound.

“A similar thing happened 4-5 weeks ago in Melbourne, where an incorrect decision went against us and we fell away in that game,” Muscat said. “So I was really pleased with the attitude.

“In a moment where something didn’t go our way, I thought we were outstanding, the way we accepted it and moved on.”

Perth stayed atop the table with a thrilling 3-2 win over Central Coast as Christopher Ikonomidis scored the winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Ikonomidis opened the scoring in the 12th minute but Central Coast equalized through Tomislav Mrcela. Shane Lowry put Perth ahead again in the 61st minute and the Mariners struck back almost immediately with a goal to Aiden O’Neill. Ikonomidis’ goal gave Perth its fourth win in five games.

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