Kosta Barbarouses scored his first Hyundai A-League hat-trick as Melbourne Victory thrashed Brisbane Roar 5-0 at Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday.
Barbarouses netted three times in the second half against his former club as Victory claimed a third win in 11 days.
Ola Toivonen and Storm Roux were also on the scoresheet as Victory moved three points clear in second and within three of league leader Perth Glory.
Victory made a decent start and it went close in the 13th minute, with Barbarouses scuffing a shot wide after being put in behind by Toivonen.
But the visitor opened the scoring soon after thanks to Toivonen's eighth goal of the season.
A lovely team move led to Terry Antonis crossing from the left, the Swedish striker meeting the midfielder's delivery and heading into the bottom corner.
Victory was on top before Brisbane threatened approaching the half-hour mark, but Adam Taggart headed a tough chance over from close range.
Lawrence Thomas was needed to push away a long-range strike from Eric Bautheac in the 33rd minute before the Victory goalkeeper held onto a Nick D'Agostino effort.
Brisbane continued to push hard for an equaliser, with Thomas using his feet to deny Taggart in a one-on-one eight minutes before the break.
But Victory made the perfect start to the second half, earning a penalty when Barbarouses' pass hit the hand of Luke DeVere.
Barbarouses stepped up and made no mistake from the spot for his 50th Hyundai A-League goal, going down the middle as Jamie Young dived to his right.
A powerful drive from Antonis forced Young into a diving save in the 64th minute and Victory made it 3-0 from the resultant corner.
James Troisi's set-piece found Roux at the near post and the full-back headed in his second goal of the season.
D'Agostino flashed a volley across the face of goal in the 71st minute before Victory struck for a fourth time.
Troisi made a brilliant run down the left before passing inside to Barbarouses, who curled a wonderful effort into the bottom corner.
Anthony Lesiotis, 18, made his Victory debut off the bench as the game opened up and Barbarouses completed his hat-trick in the 87th minute.
Elvis Kamsoba turned inside on the right and was denied by a last-ditch tackle, but the ball fell perfectly for Barbarouses to sweep in.
Player in focus
What they said – Troisi
on the win…
"Obviously a short turnaround, the boys are tired but we dug deep, started really well. It was a little bit disappointing and a little bit sloppy to be honest. We scored five goals, but I think we've got to be better with the ball, too many unforced errors, which gave them a little bit of incentive and a bit of a lift, but 5-0 away from home, I think we can still get better, we need to get better. In saying that, it's a difficult month and we'll take as many points as we get."
on the attack…
"Kosta's dangerous and we work well together. The amount of balls I give to him and obviously he finishes and the runs he makes are very smart so, it's hard to stop us, we've been doing it all season, we did it last time we were here and we continued to do it tonight and it's paying off."
on half-time message…
"We started well, first 15-20 (minutes), then we dropped for some reason, we need to be better, we were a bit sloppy. It's difficult, in the second half when you're winning, you're scoring goals, it's easy to get complacent and stuff like that. We need to keep the pressure up, we want to keep our standards very high. We'll learn from that and we've got another short turnaround and obviously an important game on the weekend, Wellington are in good form so it'll be tough."
Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Round 15
Brisbane Roar 0
Melbourne Victory 5 (Ola Toivonen 14', Kosta Barbarouses 48' pen/72'/87', Storm Roux 65')
Brisbane Roar: Young (gk); Nigro, Bowles, DeVere (Wenzel-Halls 63'), O'Toole; Caletti, Lopez (c); Ingham, D'Agostino (Henrique 76'), Bautheac (Reardon 81'); Taggart.
Melbourne Victory: Thomas (gk); Roux, Deng, Broxham, Brown; Valeri (c) (Lesiotis 81'); Antonis, Troisi, Akbari (Baena 58'); Barbarouses, Toivonen (Kamsoba 73').
Yellow cards: Nigro 68', Lopez 90+2'
Red cards: Nil
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Victory is back at home in its next game, hosting Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park on Sunday, January 20.