- Associated Press - Saturday, February 18, 2017

SYDNEY (AP) - Western Sydney ended Sydney FC’s 19-match unbeaten streak in the A-League 1-0 in a contentious local derby on Saturday.

Brendon Santalab’s first-half goal crushed Sydney’s hopes of an unbeaten season, which endured until the 20th of the regular season’s 27 rounds.

Sydney’s disappointment at missing out on that unprecedented achievement was heightened by its regret that at least three claims for penalties were waved away by referee Chris Beath. The most obvious incident came in injury time when Sydney captain Alex Brosque was tripped by a defender inside the penalty box.

Beath reportedly apologized to Sydney coach Graham Arnold after seeing replays of the incident.

“In the 93rd minute, whenever it was, a big decision like that is always going to be tough for a referee,” Brosque said. “But the good thing is once they see the replay, they’ll know they got it wrong.”

The win moved Western Sydney comfortably inside the top six.

“In all aspects of the game we more than matched Sydney,” coach Tony Popovic said.

Sydney’s defeat allowed second-placed Melbourne Victory to cut its lead atop the A-League table to eight points when it beat Central Coast 3-0 on Sunday.

Striker Besart Berisha marked his 150th A-League match with a double on either side of a goal by James Troisi as Melbourne rediscovered its scoring touch after last week’s 0-0 draw with Newcastle.

Melbourne City is now nine points behind the Victory in third place after a 5-1 win over Wellington in New Zealand.

Brisbane had a chance to move into third but was held by Perth to 2-2, staying in fourth place on goal differential. Perth, two points back in fifth place, retain a chance of a top-four finish.

Defending champion Adelaide beat Newcastle 1-0, a confidence boost ahead of its Asian Champions League clash with Japan’s Gamba Osaka on Wednesday.


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