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Steve Corica has hailed Sydney FC's 3-0 victory over Macarthur FC as a statement win as a side heavily impacted by COVID-19 and injuries brought the Bulls' unbeaten five-game A-League Men's run to an end.
After last week's victory over Wellington snapped their winless start to the campaign, Corica's Sky Blues have now made it two on the spin after many had begun to question whether rival sides had figured them out.
Sydney were without Bobo and Elvis Kamsoba due to positive COVID-19 diagnoses, while English frontman Adam Le Fondre was also ruled out as he awaits scans to determine the severity of a hamstring complaint.
In their absence a number of Sydney's younger players stepped up.
Patrick Wood opened the scoring thanks to a well-weighted Max Burgess pass across the goalmouth, before Trent Buhagiar set up Burgess in an identical vein just before the half-hour mark.
Buhagiar got in on the act in the second half as Macarthur's defence, which had conceded just once from open play this season, was comprehensively outplayed at Campbelltown Stadium.
"They stood up tonight with the amount of players we've had out due to COVID-19 and injury," Corica said.
"That's what I needed to see from them. Their workrate, their runs and pace and when you get goals from them that's confidence for me and the rest of the team.
"It goes to show they can produce when under pressure, in the game but leading into the game with just one win. It's great to see the young boys doing well.
"It's definitely a statement and it goes to show with five or six players out that we have very good depth in our squad."
Bar an early flurry of activity for Andrew Redmayne, the Sky Blues were the dominant side for the 90 minutes.
Wood tapped in the opener in the 11th minute when Paulo Retre played Burgess into the box and his squared pass found Wood who finished.
Just before the half-hour mark a miscued pass was picked off by Buhagiar who raced to the byline and cut a pass back towards an unmarked Burgess who calmly finished.
Buhagiar rounded out the scoring when Wood steered a pass through heavy traffic to poke the ball past Nick Suman and end the Bulls' unbeaten run.
"I thought we started quite well, but in the end we got hurt in those wide areas and couldn't deal with their speed," said Macarthur coach Ante Milicic.
"We didn't track back and we were soft in a couple of tackles.
"Against this quality of opponent, it's very difficult to get back into the game.
"There's no complaints from me, we were just beaten by a better side tonight."