Melbourne Victory have suffered their second 5-0 mauling in a week, falling victim to a rampant Sydney FC in their marquee Australia Day A-League match.
The Sky Blues dominated from the outset at Etihad Stadium on Sunday as goals to Ranko Despotovic, Alessandro Del Piero and Sebastian Ryall in the opening half-hour killed the contest.
Del Piero added a second after the break before substitute Nick Carle put the Victory debut of Tom Rogic firmly in the shade of Sydney’s stunning performance.
The thrashing was encapsulated by Ryall’s impressive Lionel Messi impersonation on 25 minutes.
Taking possession on the right flank, Ryall cut in, carving a route past four Victory players before curling a finish with the outside of his boot around Adrian Leijer and past goalkeeper Nathan Coe.
Sky Blues coach Frank Farina’s look of incredulity – five games into a winless streak that had Sydney FC sitting seventh on the ladder – was matched by Victory’s captain Leigh Broxham at halftime.
Broxham, fulfilling interview commitments on his way to the dressing room, could only find the words “I don’t know” when asked how Victory might turn it around. A week ago, Victory suffered the embarrassment of the same scoreline against Wellington Pheonix.
Ryall’s star turn came well after Sydney had seized control of the game.
After two chances in the opening sixty seconds were lost, Sydney took the lead through Despotovic on 10 minutes.
A Terry McFlynn long ball over Victory’s defence to Despotovic’s advantage allowed the Serbian striker to outmuscle Nick Ansell and finish strongly past Coe at full stretch.
While Victory were playing as if weighed down by one too many sausages at an Australia Day barbecue, Sydney looked fluent in possession, adding a second from the penalty spot.
Adrian Leijer was harshly adjudged to have brought down Despotovic and Del Piero sent Coe the wrong way from the resulting spot kick.
After Ryall’s third, Victory coach Kevin Muscat’s afternoon got worse two minutes later when Leijer was knocked out cold when Milos Dimitrijevic’s shot caught him square on the jaw. The former captain was stretchered off.
Rogic’s introduction at halftime did provide cause for positivity from Victory’s fans but Del Piero struck again on 54 minutes, capitalising on a woeful Coe goal-kick.
Victory’s Socceroo signing Rogic did test Vedran Janjetovic twice but was unable to rouse an unlikely comeback.
Carle capped off Sydney’s fantastic day by dispossessing Scott Galloway and finishing well.