Brisbane Roar back with a bang
Brisbane have reclaimed their swagger, rolling over the Melbourne Victory and snapping a five-game losing streak in emphatic fashion with a 3-1 win at Suncorp Stadium on New Year's eve.
Victory had the optimal start through a sublime third-minute strike from marquee-man Harry Kewell - his first in open play since joining the Hyundai A-League - before the Roar burst back into form, equalising on half-time before burying their rivals with a sharp second stanza.
In a night of fine finishing, Mitch Nichols had his fourth for the season with a superb horizontal header, while Rocky Visconte and man-of-the-match Ivan Franjic both had clinical finishes after great assistance from the competition's leading goalscorer, Besart Berisha.
Franjic was a sensation, turning in a relentless performance at right-midfield, clearly revelling in the Roar's new-look 3-4-3 formation.
Brisbane registered the first shot of the match through Berisha in the second minute, but the optimism amongst the 14852 in attendance evaporated when Kewell unleashed his stunning response just seconds later.
Forcing a turnover in opposition territory, the highly-acclaimed Socceroo held off Mohamed Adnan, dribbling to the top of the area and lashing a scud bottom-right past a diving Michael Theoklitos.
But in spite of the scoreboard it was the Roar setting the pace through the early exchanges. Hoarding possession in typical fashion, the hosts had their opponents sweating, and on one occasion thankful for the invention of the woodwork.
The Roar kept knocking. Ante Covic was forced to parry a vicious in-dipper from Erik Paartalu at the half-hour mark and then Adnan wafted a volley over with five remaining in the half.
Brisbane were edging ever closer and in the 44th minute, Olyroos star Nichols had the leveller. The Roar worked through the feet deep on the left, before Paartalu lobbed a cross to the penalty spot, where Nichols had timed a great run, launching himself horizontal and angling into the net.
The Roar strutted out of the rooms buoyant after their fast-paced first-half finish and it took them less than five minutes to usurp the lead.
Enjoying a rare start in attack, Visconte took the go-ahead ball from Berisha, skipped on with skill and then slid a precise left-footer across the face of goal and swirling around the net.
The next took just three minute. Pouring forward with irresistible momentum, Berisha was again the provider, exhibiting beautiful touch to control and feed with a two-foot shuffle, playing Franjic in for a much deserved goal.
The Roar continued to bustle and bristle, finding opportunities with contemptible ease. But Stefanutto, Massimo Murdocca and plenty of others were errant with the final touch, and the Victory were able to block and scramble their way to the whistle without sustaining further damage.
Melbourne weren't completely devoid of hope in the final 45, with small sniffs of offensive provided through Daniel Allsopp, Thompson and Kewell, whose work-rate dropped significantly as they game wore on.
Brisbane Roar 3 (Nichols 44, Visconte 50, Franjic 53)
Melbourne Victory 1 (Kewell 3)
Crowd: 14852 at Suncorp Stadium