SYDNEY, April 9 (Reuters) - Sydney FC received a helping hand from a video assistant referee in a world first on Saturday but it was still not enough for a 20th win of the season for the runaway A-League leaders.
The A-League is trial ling the video assistant over the final two rounds of the regular season and the three weeks of playoffs that follow.
The video assistant was called into action in the second half of their match against Wellington Phoenix in the New Zealand capital when visiting players claimed Marco Rossi had handled the ball inside the box.
Referee Shaun Evans deferred a penalty decision to video assistant referee Jarred Gillet, who confirmed the offence and Brazilian striker Bobo stepped up to convert the spot kick to give Sydney FC a 1-0 lead.
Phoenix equalised through a Michael McGlinchey header in stoppage time.
Sydney FC, whose place in the playoffs has long been assured, have suffered just one defeat in 26 matches this season and head into their final game of the regular season with a 17-point cushion.
Melbourne Victory are assured of second place, and an Asian Champions League spot, and lead local rivals City and Brisbane Roar by seven points despite being held to a 0-0 draw by Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday.
Perth Glory are a further three points back in fifth place having secured their postseason berth with a 3-1 victory over the Roar late on Saturday that ended Wellington’s interest in the playoffs.
Former Asian champions Wanderers are assured of at least filling the sixth and final place in the playoffs but could move above Perth into fifth if other results go their way and they beat Adelaide United in their final match of the season.
United, who secured the A-League crown for the first time last year, have managed just five wins from 26 matches in their title defence and are out of the playoff picture.
Sydney FC and Victory will skip the first round of playoffs and host semi-finals at the end of April, while the teams in third and fourth place host fifth and sixth in the opening round.
City, who have Tim Cahill in their side and former England manager Roy Hodgson on board as a temporary advisor, host Perth next week in a match that, barring a defeat by seven goals or more, will see them secure a home playoff.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Peter Rutherford