Sydney FC defeated Melbourne Victory 5-0 in the A-League on Sunday to record their first win in six games and bring genuine scrutiny to bear on Kevin Muscat after another abject performance from his team.
The Victory also lost 5-0 away to Wellington Phoenix last time out and showed no signs of improvement on Australia Day at Etihad Stadium, as goals from Ranko Despotovic, Sebastian Ryall, Nick Carle and an Alessandro Del Piero brace, the first from the penalty spot, sealed all three points for the Sky Blues.
It was a much-needed win for Sydney FC, their first since beating Melbourne Heart 2-1 at home on December 15, and sees Frank Farina's team climb to fifth on the table, just a point behind fourth-place Victory.
The only highlight for the home side was a respectable debut for loan signing Tom Rogic, who was lively enough after coming on at half-time.
Muscat's priority though is to shore up a defence which has now conceded 15 goals in the last five matches, a rate incompatible with their hopes of a top-two finish.
The home side's midfield also badly missed the quality of captain Mark Milligan, who is recovering from minor knee surgery, as they slumped to their worst ever home defeat.
Those deficiencies were gladly capitalised on by Sydney, who had more of the ball in the opening exchanges and were rewarded in the 11th minute, when Terry McFlynn's well-judged long ball released Despotovic in behind the Victory defence.
Nathan Coe might have come out to clear but opted not to and Nick Ansell was unable to put in a challenge, allowing the Serbian forward to run on and produce a good low finish beyond the Victory goalkeeper.
The visitors doubled their advantage eight minutes later, when Adrian Leijer put his arm around Despotovic, giving him enough of an excuse to go to ground. Referee Ben Williams pointed to the spot, and Del Piero struck a well-taken penalty into the bottom right corner.
From there, Sydney's Australia Day just got better and better. In the 24th minute right-back Ryall came in off the flank and went on a run worthy of Del Piero in his heyday, beating first Dylan Murnane and then Leigh Broxham, before toe-poking the ball past Coe and into the net to make it 3-0.