Sydney FC took control of their A-League finals fate with a deserved 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.
The Sky Blues treated 18,180 fans - their biggest home crowd of the season - to an entertaining and much-needed win that also put an official end to the Victory's faint finals hopes.
Karol Kisel's first-half penalty proved the difference, but the scoreline did not reflect Sydney's utter dominance as some poor finishing and Melbourne's gutsy scrambling kept it a live contest.
The result moved Sydney within one point of the top six, after Melbourne Heart and Newcastle were held to draws by Wellington and Gold Coast respectively.
It leaves Sydney knowing they will be guaranteed a finals spot if they win their last two matches against the Heart (away) and Jets (home).
Melbourne's star attraction Harry Kewell was kept quiet in a loss that dealt a further blow to caretaker coach Jim Magilton's hopes of earning a fulltime job.
The visitors' best chance of the night came early, with Archie Thompson's one-on-one effort denied brilliantly by Ivan Necevski in the sixth minute.
Ante Covic was called into action at the other end in the 19th minute with a great save to deny youngster Joel Chianese, who created havoc for the Victory in an impressive display.
Kisel looked certain to score in the 27th minute, only for Mark Milligan to intervene with a brilliant goal-line clearance.
But Sydney could not be denied after Ubay Luzardo was adjudged to have brought down Bruno Cazarine in a 32nd minute off-the-ball tussle in the box.
Kisel stepped up and smashed the resulting penalty past Covic and the Slovakian could have had a double inside five minutes had he not sent a dangerous Brett Emerton ball over the bar from close range.
Chances continued to go begging for the home side after the break, with Chianese failing to turn Kisel's cross in the 52nd minute.
Milligan made another crucial clearance to deny Nick Carle in the 63rd minute and Sydney's inability to put the match away ensured some nervous late moments.
A disappointed Magilton hoped he would be given a chance to continue as head coach of the Victory.
The Northern Irishman said given the chance he would turn the club on its head.
The defeat took his record since replacing the sacked Mehmet Durakovic to one win, five draws and four defeats in 10 games.
"I wouldn't like the record I currently have, and I'd like an opportunity to rectify that," Magilton said.
"I think it's apparent to anyone here, anyone across the A-League, that change is needed whether I'm here or not.
"... Change of personnel, different mindset and I think it needs to be done sooner rather than later."
Sydney coach Vitezslav Lavicka agreed his side's first-half performance was among its best this year but acknowledged his side should have put the result beyond doubt.
"We played good quality attacking football, we created chances. We scored one but we should have had more," Lavicka said.
"... But in our current situation it was clear we have to pick up the points, it doesn't matter how or how many goals.
"I still believe (we will make the finals)."