The trickery of Bruno Fornaroli has surged Melbourne City to the top of the A-League, overcoming 10-man Brisbane 3-1 on Friday night at AAMI Park.
A second-half Aaron Mooy penalty was followed by headers to Anthony Caceres and Nick Fitzgerald to push City past the Roar.
Roar had led thanks to Dimitri Petratos’ first-half super volley.
But it was Fornaroli who was the heart-starter, like so often in this campaign.
The Uruguayan danced his way into the penalty box, baffling marker Jack Hingert, whose shirt tug brought his dismissal and a penalty for City.
Mooy scored it and City didn’t look back, chasing the winner and finding it with 10 minutes remaining.
Ivan Franjic’s cross over the top found Caceres, who climbed highest to head home.
City weren’t done, with Fitzgerald reacting quickest when Fornaroli’s free-kick rattled the bar to nod past a stranded Jamie Young.
The battle of the two A-League title-chasers and league’s top-two marksmen didn’t disappoint, but Jamie Maclaren did, left isolated for much of the evening.
Ten Socceroos – including substitute Tommy Oar on his A-League return – took part in a tense, if low-tempo, match worthy of the business end of the season.
Brisbane struck first with the goal of the game, a wonder-strike from Petratos.
From a corner headed away by City defender Alex Wilkinson, Petratos first controlled the ball with his right thigh and belted it goalwards with his non-preferred left foot past Thomas Sorensen.
John Aloisi’s side took a 1-0 lead into the break but, by fulltime, the 3-1 loss might have been even worse.
Daniel Bowles could have been shown a second yellow card for bringing down Harry Novillo on the edge of the box.
Novillo wasn’t without his own indiscretion, cautioned for diving in the first half.
But the final result had City fans singing, enjoying a view from the top of the table for the first time so late in an A-League campaign.