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Western Sydney all but sealed the premiership on Saturday afternoon as they recorded a 3-1victory over Melbourne Heart at AAMI Stadium to move eight points clear.
Western Sydney started well and could have had the lead in the sixth minute as Aaron Mooy’s free-kick found Nickolai Topor-Stanley at close range but his header went inexplicably wide.
Heart responded with a set piece effort of their own moments later as Golgol Mebrahtu hit his free-kick right in to the arms of Ante Covic.
After that initial flurry of chances the match settled with Melbourne Heart looking the better side through the opening half hour but they proved wasteful with their chances.
It looked like disaster had befallen Wanderers in the 28th minute when Jerome Polenz pulled up and was forced from the field with a quad injury but the Wanderers players rallied in his absence.
Right after Polenz went off the field the league leaders opened the scoring as Labinot Haliti was put in space by Mooy allowing him to hit a shot from distance that clipped the post on its way in.
Heart responded to conceding by lifting and less than ten minutes later they drew level, just like they had threatened to do all match as Mebrahtu hit a powerful strike that left Covic with no chance, making it 1-1.
Two minutes before the break Richard Garcia found the back of the net with his header but was denied as Josip Tadic had strayed in to an offside position, keeping the match 1-1 at the break.
In the 48th minute Mebrahtu could well have put Heart in front as he beat three defenders but sent his effort wide of the target.
On the hour mark Haliti sealed his brace as Iacopo La Rocca played Haliti through, allowing him to chip the keeper and give Western Sydney the lead.
The league leaders kept pushing and only Andrew Redmayne spared Heart in the 73rd minute as he made an impressive diving save to keep Heart in with a chance.
Melbourne Heart’s chances of winning the match fell apart when Simon Colosimo was shown two yellow cards in quick succession, reducing Heart to ten men.
Western Sydney all but sealed the title in the 88th minute when La Rocca scored Wanderers’ third goal, meaning only a disaster would deny the debutants the Premiership.