Adelaide United maestro Marcelo Carrusca pulled the strings in a 3-1 triumph against Sydney FC on Friday night which lifted the Reds to fourth on the A-League ladder.
Carrusca created goals for Fabio Ferreira and Sergio Cirio in an ill-tempered affair at Coopers Stadium.
Sydney’s Matt Thompson scored before Adelaide’s Bruce Djite sealed the win some three minutes from fulltime.
The Reds, climbing two spots on the ladder ahead of weekend games, prevailed in a match punctuated by five yellow cards – four dished out in an ugly eight-minute span.
Ferreira and Cirio both netted their eighth goals of the season – and both scores came with Carrusca’s imprint.
Ferreira’s 13th-minute strike was crafted by Carrusca, who with the eye of a surgeon sliced open the Sky Blues’ defence with a precise through ball.
Ferreira, with his first touch, turned inside as defender Sasa Ognenovski went outside; with his second touch, the Portuguese winger coolly slotted a low right-footer.
Things soon turned sour and three players were yellow-carded after Carrusca was felled by Sydney’s Alex Urosevski, who was the first booked.
Several Sky Blues players harangued the fallen Carrusca and spot fires erupted, resulting in bookings for Ognenovski and Adelaide’s Tarek Elrich.
Adelaide defender Jon McKain and Sydney’s Nikola Petkovic also tangled but avoided bookings before the visitor’s Richard Garcia was yellow-carded for a blatant push on Carrusca.
In the second half, Sydney’s Joel Chianese was also booked before Carrusca again loomed large.
The playmaker glided through midfield to panic the Sky Blues defence and fired from 15 metres – the shot was blocked, but fell into Cirio’s path, who converted from close range.
Sydney showed resilience and Thompson scored with a sweet right-footer in the 75th minute to give them hope.
But Djite sealed the deal for Adelaide when, on the turn, he struck a powerful left-footer to score and ensure the Sky Blues slipped to sixth on the ladder.