Wanderers edge ahead of Roar and Glory in race for A-League finals spot
Western Sydney Wanderers hold the aces in the three-way tussle for an A-League finals spot going into the last home-and-away round.
Western Sydney (33 points), who host Adelaide next Sunday, know a home win over Adelaide will secure sixth spot and a finals place for the fifth time in their six-season history.
However, a draw or loss could have them overtaken by either Brisbane or Perth (both 32), who clash at nib Stadium next Saturday.
There's even a chance all three teams finish level on points if the Wanderers lose and Perth and Brisbane draw.
Perth enhanced their prospects of a third straight finals place with a 2-0 away win over slumping second-placed Newcastle on Friday.
A Diego Castro penalty and a goal from former Jet Adam Taggart kept Perth's finals aspirations alive.
While the Glory remain eighth, they trail Brisbane only on goal difference and the winner of their clash will overtake the Wanderers if they fail to beat Adelaide.
"If we win that game [against Perth], we put pressure right back on them [the Wanderers]," Roar coach John Aloisi said.
Ladder position apart, Western Sydney have the advantage of playing the day after the other two aspirants for sixth spot, so will know what they need to do.
The Wanderers won their game against Brisbane in emphatic fashion.
A double from Spanish striker Oriol Riera and a third goal from Chris Ikonomidis had the Roar beaten by half-time.
Newcastle coach Ernie Merrick didn't spare his side after their third straight loss.
In that time they have conceded 10 times, while the previously prolific Jets have failed to score in their past two after netting at least once in each of their 24 previous matches.
"There's obviously some boys feeling under pressure," Merrick said.
Melbourne City ensured a top-four finish with a 1-0 home win over struggling Central Coast Mariners, with star striker Bruno Fornaroli scoring his fourth goal in five games.
A-LEAGUE FINALS PERMUTATIONS
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS (sixth, 33 points, -8 goal difference, home to Adelaide United)
A win guarantees Wanderers sixth spot. A draw or loss would lead to them being overtaken by the winner of the Perth-Brisbane game.
BRISBANE ROAR (seventh, 32, -8, away to Perth Glory)
If they beat Perth and Wanderers lose or draw against Perth, Roar will finish sixth.
PERTH GLORY (eighth, 32, -12, home to Brisbane Roar)
Perth must beat Brisbane and hope Wanderers lose to Adelaide.
If the Wanderers lose and Perth and Brisbane draw and all three teams finish on 33 points, it will go down to goal difference. If teams finish level in that area, the team scoring the most goals in the season finishes higher.