Melbourne Victory twice came from behind to record an astounding 4-3 victory over Adelaide United on Saturday in a classic A-League encounter.
In a rollercoaster game, Victory looked unlikely after halftime, trailing 2-1 to two Sergio Cirio goals and with Socceroo midfielder Tom Rogic hobbling off with an apparent foot injury.
But Victory’s Gui Finkler again wiped out the deficit before a Eugene Galekovic howler allowed Archie Thompson to give the Melbourne team the lead for the first time.
Kosta Barbarouses appeared to make the game safe after 75 minutes, but Cirio again netted for a worthy hat-trick, keeping both managers on edge until the final whistle.
Of most concern was Rogic, who was caught unawares on the right boot by teammate Leigh Broxham minutes into the second half, being substituted after clutching his right foot.
Adelaide started sharpest in the match-up between the two great rivals, catching Victory napping with less than three minutes on the clock when Cirio lashed home a cross from Fabio Ferreira.
Isaias’s through-ball to Ferreira was pinpoint and, while the Victory defence crowded Bruce Djite, the cross instead found Cirio who was given no attention from marker Scott Galloway.
Finkler had the Victory back on terms after 14 minutes.
Receiving Thompson’s quick pass, Finkler spectacularly flicked the ball in the air and volleyed home from the edge of the area past Galekovic at full stretch.
With the game settling into a rhythm, Adelaide’s possession-based football and the Victory’s rapid counter-attacking style generated chances for both sides.
But it was Cirio who popped up again just before halftime, finishing after great work from Djite holding off Nick Ansell to provide the assist through his legs.
Rogic’s departure after halftime silenced the stadium but Finkler had the crowd dancing after 57 minutes, finishing at the near post after fancy footwork from Broxham.
Ten minutes later, crowd favourite Thompson pounced when Galekovic miskicked a clearance without any pressure, rolling the ball into an empty net.
Adelaide fans thought they had a penalty on 72 minutes when Coe appeared to bring down Jeronimo Neumann but referee Kris Griffiths-Jones instead signalled a goal kick.
With Adelaide pushing for an equaliser, the Victory had their fourth with a quarter-hour remaining when Barbarouses finished his own break.
The New Zealander found the best afield Finkler who, with James Troisi, danced through the Reds’ defence, setting up the Victory’s fourth goal.
Cirio – who wriggled free to beat Coe a third time in the 83rd minute – gave United a final chance to get something from the game, but the Victory made it through five minutes of stoppage time to celebrate.