Bruno Fornaroli's case for a Socceroos recall is strengthening by the week after the striker bagged four goals as Melbourne Victory defeated Western Sydney 4-3.
Fornaroli, 36, now has 11 goals in seven A-League Men games this season after the Victory brushed a largely underwhelming Wanderers outfit aside in front of 9755 fans at CommBank Stadium on Sunday.
The Uruguayan-born forward hasn't won an Australian cap in over 18 months but his finishing and hold-up play will leave Socceroos boss Graham Arnold with plenty to ponder ahead of selecting his squad for January's Asian Cup in Qatar.
Arnold is certain to be without Brandon Borrello and Fornaroli looks a ready-made replacement after his four-goal haul helped Victory leapfrog their hosts into fourth spot.
"All the goals are great because they're all different goals for Bruno," said Victory coach Tony Popovic.
"I think that's what's most pleasing, that's what he's added a lot this year is his scoring inside the box.
"The goals he scores outside the box are because of his quality and talent and that will always remain, but he's adding more.
"It (a Socceroos recall) is not a question for me. That's a question for the national team coach.
"But we're delighted with how he's playing and not just his scoring."
Up until Sunday's game, Marko Rudan's side had yet to concede at home but Fornaroli wasted little time in putting paid to that record when he rifled a rebound past Lawrence Thomas after just eight minutes.
Western Sydney were cumbersome but as they began to hunt for an equaliser before halftime, they were caught on the counter.
Latching onto a ball, Fornaroli surged into the box, hoodwinking Wanderers defender Tate Russell before dispatching the ball past Thomas to give Victory a 2-0 lead.
"For the second week in a row, we started slowly and we got punished against a good side - that's where we threw the game away," Rudan said.
"We didn't do enough to stop him (Fornaroli), he's hungry and more motivated than I've seen him in a number of years and we couldn't deal with him."
Even after the break, Western Sydney's woes showed no sign of halting when Jack Clisby conceded a penalty for a handball.
Fornaroli stepped up confidently and had no problem putting it past Thomas to complete his treble in the 51st minute.
Marcus Antonsson pulled one back for the Wanderers from the spot but Fornaroli was quick to re-establish a three-goal buffer for Victory when he headed in his fourth goal from a Daniel Arzani free kick with 15 minutes left.
Antonsson and new recruit Valentino Yuel grabbed two back late on to set up a nervy finish, but Victory hung on to claim the three points ahead of next Saturday's clash with Sydney FC.
Australian Associated Press