A-League leaders Brisbane have broken their winning drought in Melbourne in stunning style with a 3-0 win over the Victory in their AAMI Park clash.
The Roar underlined their title credentials with a powerful display on Saturday night to record their first win against the third-placed Victory in Melbourne since 2008.
A crowd of more than 23,000 watched the Roar absorb some heavy pressure from the home side, who had the bulk of early chances in a frenetic opening to the match with Gui Finkler making an impression in his first start.
Brisbane answered with a superb team goal in the 28th minute, with more than 20 passes in the lead-up.
Former Melbourne midfielder Diogo Ferreira combined with Dimitri Petratos and then Thomas Broich, who teed it up for Liam Miller to slam it past keeper Nathan Coe.
The Roar took that lead into halftime and then ramped up their game in the second as they bullied Melbourne around the pitch.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat replaced Mitch Nichols at the break, with the star midfielder’s head perhaps distracted by a Japanese club offer.
James Jeggo started in his place but was also unable to dent the Roar’s dominance.
Despite only two places separating the teams on the competition table, Brisbane looked a class above.
Their second goal came in the 55th minute with Miller and Henrique setting the ball up for Matt McKay to hammer home for his first goal of the season.
Petratos, who scored a hattrick in their 5-2 win over Sydney FC, then put the result out of doubt running on to a Miller pass before a curling left foot shot found the net in the 67th minute.
The night didn’t improve for Melbourne with defender Adrian Leijer red-carded a minute later for a second bookable offence after he tripped Henrique, giving Brisbane even more room to move.
Frustrated Victory coach Kevin Muscat had no answer for his team’s capitulation after a strong start.
“We created a good chance and then something I haven’t seen in a very long time; we conceded a goal and then just seemed to crumble,” Muscat said.
“It was an ordinary performance and I’m not happy at all.”
Muscat confirmed the replacement of Nichols wasn’t because of injury and alluded to the transfer distraction.
“He’s got a lot on his mind at the moment and he wasn’t anywhere near his previous best.”
Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey was all smiles with his team’s second big win in as many weeks.
“I’m extremely happy with the players because they were very good,” he said.
He felt the game belonged to the Roar after the first goal.
“Once we got into the groove and scored the first goal there was only one team that was going to win this game as far as I was concerned.”