Melbourne Victory recorded a hard-fought 2-0 win over Hyundai A-League leader Perth Glory at HBF Park on Saturday.
With its spot in the Finals Series booked for a seventh straight season, Victory made it back-to-back wins.
An Ola Toivonen free-kick and Keisuke Honda penalty saw Victory to its win, consolidating third place on the table and keeping the Premier's Plate race alive.
After a lively start, Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas did superbly to deny Joel Chianese when the attacker intercepted a Carl Valeri back-pass in the eighth minute.
At the other end, Kosta Barbarouses forced Glory shot-stopper Liam Reddy into a low save from inside the area.
Both teams continued to search for an opener as Victory threatened through Honda, whose long-range free-kick was saved by Reddy.
The next chance fell to Chris Ikonomidis in the 20th minute, but the Glory forward put his effort over the crossbar in a one-on-one with Thomas.
Victory opened the scoring five minutes later through Toivonen, who netted the 5,000th goal in Hyundai A-League history.
The Swedish star curled a 25-yard free-kick in off the inside of the post for his 11th league goal of the campaign.
Chianese put an effort across the face of goal with eight minutes remaining in the first half before his header hit the top of the crossbar and bounced clear.
Less than 30 seconds after the break, Thomas was called into action again, pushing away a strike from Chianese.
After Chianese missed the target with another strike, Barbarouses hit the side-netting following a pass from James Troisi in the 54th minute.
The chances continued as Glory almost equalised just before the hour-mark, Diego Castro's 25-yard free-kick hitting the crossbar.
Victory was awarded a penalty after Scott Neville handled in the area and Honda stepped up to convert his seventh league goal of the season.
The Japanese star sent Reddy the wrong way from the penalty spot to make it 2-0 in the 67th minute.
On his return from injury, Elvis Kamsoba forced Reddy into a late save as Victory held firm despite a Perth push.
Player in focus
What they said – Thomas
on the importance of the win…
"It's a massive time of year to start getting our form back. It's a difficult trip to come here, Perth is a brilliant team and they've obviously had a great season and to come here, in front of their crowd and get the job done is great work from the boys."
on winning a big game…
"I think most of the boys in our team relish these bigger games and the higher pressure come the end of the year and it's nice to have a long travel after you win so we'll enjoy the trip back."
Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Round 23
Perth Glory 0
Melbourne Victory 2 (Ola Toivonen 25', Keisuke Honda 67' pen)
Perth Glory: Reddy (gk); Djulbic (Santalab 81'), Lowry, Neville; Franjic (Keogh 60'), Juande (Brimmer 72'), Kilkenny, Davidson; Castro (c), Chianese, Ikonomidis.
Melbourne Victory: Thomas (gk); Roux, Niedermeier (Deng 88'), Donachie, Broxham; Valeri (c); Antonis (Brown 76'), Troisi, Honda; Barbarouses (Kamsoba 86'), Toivonen.
Yellow cards: Castro 24', Toivonen 29', Antonis 45+3', Valeri 63'
Red cards: Nil
Venue: HBF Park
Victory has another away game in Round 24, making the trip to Sydney FC on Saturday, April 6.