Kosta Barbarouses destroyed Brisbane for the third time this A-League season as Melbourne Victory edged the Roar 2-1.
The New Zealander scored a pair of first-half goals to earn Victory's first win in six weeks at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night. The goals, his sixth and seventh against his former club this season, ties Shane Smeltz's single-season benchmark against one club set for Perth Glory against Victory in 2011-12. The red-hot striker refused to celebrate either goal, understood as a tribute to the victims of the horrific Christchurch attacks of his homeland.
Eric Bautheac's second-half consolation made the contest interesting but Victory were plainly the better side.
Without a win in six games, Victory couldn't have asked for a better fixture to rebound. Having beaten the Roar 4-2 and 5-0 already this season at Suncorp Stadium, this was exactly what the doctor ordered for Kevin Muscat's men, and Victory lapped it up.
Barbarouses enjoyed a string of chances through the night, including an early volley blocked by Matt McKay. With the help of Victory's Japanese superstar, Barbarouses broke through.
Keisuke Honda split defenders Jacob Pepper and Daniel Leck to find the No.9, who raced through and curled past Brendan White. A quarter-hour later, the A-League's leading assist-maker James Troisi provided once more, dinking a ball through for Barbarouses to thrash home a volley at the near post.
Victory shot themselves in the foot shortly after the break, when surprise selection Matt Acton in goals combined with Raul Baena to gift the Roar a lifeline. Acton's throw to the Spaniard allowed Thomas Kristensen to steal possession and from that, Bautheac arced a ball over the out-of-position gloveman.
After a brief onset of the shakes, Victory set about chasing the game, and again, Barbarouses found the goal at his mercy. The hat trick was there for him after fine play from Josh Hope and Honda, only for Barbarouses to fumble the opportunity.
Brisbane's interim coach Darren Davies injected veteran Henrique and debutant Zachary Duncan in an effort to find an unlikely equaliser. The Brazilian had an 89th minute chance to score past an onrushing Acton but fluffed his lines, letting Victory off the hook.
Victory stay third but moved to within a point of second-placed Sydney FC with the result, while Barbarouses' 13th goal of the season moved him to within one of golden boot leaders Adam le Fondre and Roy Krishna.