A second-half hat-trick from Kosta Barbarouses has seen Melbourne Victory stay in touch with the Hyundai A-League summit – and heap more misery on Brisbane Roar - after a crushing 5-0 win at Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday night.
Victory led 1-0 at the break thanks to Ola Toivonen’s early goal and then went on a rampage in the second half, with Barbarouses the star.
Barbarouses brought up an impressive milestone with his treble in the second stanza, with right-back Storm Roux capping a brilliant away performance with a sensational glancing header.
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The result means Victory have moved to within three points of league-leaders Perth Glory ahead of their clash against in-form Wellington Phoenix on the weekend.
But Roar’s finals hopes now appear all but over, stranded on just one win from 14 matches this season.
Roar boss Darren Davies made four changes to try and spark something in his side but they could do little to prevent Victory’s opener on 14 minutes.
James Troisi, Kosta Barbarouses and Terry Antonis were all involved in a slick move, finished off by a deft header by Toivonen at the far post.
But the visitors were unable to build on their impressive start as Roar then carved out some excellent chances.
Adam Taggart headed over from close range just before the half-hour mark, while Eric Bautheac and Nick D’Agostino both tested Lawrence Thomas from distance.
The best chance fell to Taggart though when sent clear through on goal, but his low shot was saved by the feet of Lawrence Thomas.
Whatever Victory boss Kevin Muscat said at the break had the desired effect as his side doubled their lead within three minutes of the resumption from the penalty spot.
After Luke DeVere was adjudged to have handled inside the box, Barbarouses calmly sent Jamie Young the wrong way to notch his 50th Hyundai A-League goal.
The Kiwi international is the seventh-fastest player – and eighth overall - to get to the half-century in the competition’s history.
Victory weren’t done there and Roux got in on the act midway through the half, with a sensational glancing header past Young from Troisi’s corner.
Barbarouses got his second soon after with a brilliant curling finish before completing his hat-trick three minutes from the end to cap a wonderful night for the Hyundai A-League champions.
See all the goals and relive all the action and major talking points in our LIVE BLOG below.