Kruse, Melbourne on fire

Melbourne Victory has bounced back from successive defeats with an emphatic 6-2 defeat of Perth Glory at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, Robbie Kruse netting a first-half hat-trick as the hosts ran riot.

Melbourne Victory has bounced back from successive defeats with an emphatic 6-2 defeat of Perth Glory at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, Robbie Kruse netting a first-half hat-trick as the hosts ran riot.

Archie Thompson may have opened the scoring with his first goal since late November and Kevin Muscat and Carlos Hernandez also scored but it was Kruse who stole the show with goals in the 12th, 26th and 39th minutes to keep intact Victory's unbeaten record against the Glory in Melbourne.

The win in front of 20,448 fans, Melbourne's fourth from seven attempts at home to Perth, takes the club to second place on 38 points and within a point of Hyundai A-League leader Sydney FC (39), which plays the now third-placed Gold Coast United (37) at the SFS on Sunday.

The game was also the second-highest scoring match in the five seasons of the Hyundai A-League, behind only the 5-4 slugfest when Sydney FC eventually beat the Central Coast Mariners in December 2007.

Perth did provide some nervous moments during the second half, Mile Sterjovski scoring in the 52nd minute to make it 4-2 but the introduction of Marvin Angullo in the final quarter of an hour paid dividends when he twice provided dangerous balls that led to Muscat's penalty and Hernandez' goal.

While Perth had the first real chance of the game in the opening minutes it was Melbourne that opened the scoring in just the fourth minute when Hernandez' defence-splitting ball put Thompson into space and he made no mistake with only Tando Velaphi to beat.

Eight minutes later and Chris Coyne's nightmare attempted volley on halfway of an innocuous clearance from Leigh Broxham fell for Hernandez who again provided the assist as Kruse ran into space and likewise curled the ball past a desperately lunging Velaphi.

Thompson tried to return the favour for Hernandez soon after only for the Costa Rican's shot to be blocked by Velaphi and the visitors hit back in the 19th minute when Mitch Langerak failed to deal with a Jacob Burns corner and the loose ball ricocheted in off a flat-footed Rody Vargas.

But Victory didn't take long to restore its two-goal buffer as a move that started with Adrian Leijer's lunge to win a ball in the 26th minute and also involved Nick Ward, a superb pass from Thompson and Tom Pondeljak's pinpoint cross finished with Kruse scoring from close range at the near post.

Jamie Harnwell and Chris Coyne both picked up yellow cards before Coyne was replaced by new Glory arrival Daniel McBreen in the 38th minute and within 60 seconds the hosts were in again through Kruse.

This time it was Jamie Coyne who made a mess of an attempt to pass to a team-mate from Vargas' long pass with the ball falling instead into the path of Kruse who run away and timed his chip over Velaphi just right to bring up Victory's first treble since Thompson's in the 2006/07 Grand Final.

Sterjovski brought Perth closer early in the second stanza when he took possession just inside his own half and then turned onto his left boot and blasted past Langerak and while the visitors came close to narrowing the gap even further they couldn't quite do so.

And minutes after coming on Angullo fired the pass into the box that led to Thompson being brought down by Jacob Burns for Muscat's spot kick before then also setting up his countryman Hernandez for the icing on the cake a minute later.

Melbourne Victory 6 (Thompson 4, Kruse 12, 26, 39, Muscat 81p, Hernandez 82) Perth Glory 2 (Vargas 19og, Sterjovski 52)