Melbourne Victory have suffered their second 5-0 mauling in a week, falling victim to a rampant Sydney FC in their marquee Australia Day A-League match.
The Sky Blues dominated from the outset at Etihad Stadium yesterday as goals to Ranko Despotovic, Alessandro Del Piero and Sebastian Ryall in the opening half-hour killed the contest.
Del Piero added a second after the break before substitute Nick Carle put the Victory debut of Tom Rogic firmly in the shade by Sydney's performance.
The thrashing was encapsulated by Ryall's impressive Lionel Messi impersonation on 25 minutes.
Taking possession on the right flank, Ryall cut in, carving a route past four Victory players before curling a finish with the outside of his boot around Adrian Leijer and past goalkeeper Nathan Coe.
Sky Blues coach Frank Farina's look of incredulity - five games into a winless streak that had Sydney FC sitting seventh on the ladder - was matched by Victory's captain Leigh Broxham's at half-time.
Broxham, fulfilling interview commitments on his way to the dressing room, could only find the words "I don't know" when asked how Victory might turn it around.
Ryall's star turn came well after Sydney had seized control of the game.
After two chances in the opening 60 seconds were spurned, Sydney took the lead through Despotovic on 10 minutes.
A Terry McFlynn long ball over Victory's defence to Despotovic's advantage allowed the Serbian striker to outmuscle Nick Ansell and finish strongly past Coe at full stretch.
While Victory were playing as if weighed down by one too many sausages at an Australia Day barbecue, Sydney looked fluent in possession, adding a second from the penalty spot.
Leijer was harshly adjudged to have brought down Despotovic and Del Piero sent Coe the wrong way from the resulting spot-kick.
After Ryall's third, Victory coach Kevin Muscat's afternoon got worse two minutes later when Leijer was knocked out cold when Milos Dimitrijevic's shot caught him square on the jaw. The former captain was stretchered off.
Del Piero struck again on 54 minutes off a woeful Coe goal kick, then Carle robbed Scott Galloway to complete the rout.
Meanwhile, Western Sydney have quashed any talk of an A-League form slump with a dominant 3-1 win over Perth at Pirtek Stadium yesterday.
First-half strikes from Brendon Santalab and Aaron Mooy put the Wanderers ahead before Shane Smeltz gave the Glory hope with a goal 10 minutes after the break.
Mark Bridge sealed victory with a 71st-minute penalty to lift the Wanderers back into second spot and ensure the Glory remain winless against the reigning premiers. - AAP