The dynamic duo of Archie Thompson and Marco Rojas vaulted Melbourne Victory to second in the A-League on Saturday.
The brace of goals helped the home side romp to a 3-1 win over a nine-man Sydney FC at AAMI Park.
The irrepressible Rojas earned Victory a deflected goal in the first half and scored another in the second while Thompson slotted the other as Victory ended Sydney’s two-match winning run.
Joel Griffiths scored a consolation goal for the Sky Blues on 75 minutes, but by then the damage had been done, with Tiago Calvano sent off for a second bookable offence on 60 minutes, while Brazilian compatriot Fabio followed suit in injury time.
Victory move above Adelaide into second spot ahead of a crucial run of games against the other top five teams starting with the Melbourne derby next Saturday against the Heart.
Sydney, looking for their first hat-trick of wins in three-and-a-half years, missed their chance to move into the top six after a display which failed to live up to the hype built by Alessandro del Piero’s first appearance in Melbourne.
Meanwhile, a Shinji Ono penalty handed a 10-man Western Sydney Wanderers a well-deserved 1-0 win over Melbourne Heart.
The Wanderers were forced to play more than 75 minutes one man short after defender Jerome Polenz was marched for hauling down David Williams as he was clear on goal.
But the visitors failed to capitalise with their spot-kick and the numerical advantage to eventually come unstuck when Ono scored 17 minutes from time.
After the tireless Youssouf Hersi was dragged down by David Vrankovic in the box, the Japanese midfielder stepped up and sent Andrew Redmayne the wrong way much to the delight of the crowd.
It was Ono’s fifth goal of the campaign and was a just reward for a superb performance from the home side, who would have won more comfortably if not for the form of Redmayne in the Heart goal.
The victory sees the Wanderers move up to third spot on the ladder while the Heart are still searching for their first win outside of Melbourne this season.
In Saturday’s final game, Brisbane Roar consigned Perth Glory to their third straight defeat with a 1-0 win at nib Stadium.
The result means Perth drop to ninth place and could be equal bottom with Wellington Phoenix by the end of the weekend, but are only two points adrift of the top six.
Brisbane move into seventh ahead of Sydney FC on goal difference, one point behind Melbourne and Newcastle.
Perth had created the early chances but were stunned in the 15th minute when James Meyer blasted a powerful 30-yard, left-footed strike low and hard past Danny Vukovic into the bottom corner.
Luke Brattan came close to doubling the Roar’s lead in the 74th minute from a dead-ball situation when he forced Vukovic to tip the shot over the bar.