A Harry Kewell brace was not enough to stop Melbourne Victory from suffering a 3-2 loss to the Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
The marquee man was a constant threat in the attacking third, producing a fine performance that kept Victory in the game.
Kewell cancelled out Besart Berisha's first-minute strike, before the Roar striker netted a second and Henrique struck from the penalty spot just before the break.
Yet, the Victory attacker was not done yet, pulling a goal back in the 51st minute, and the visitors were unlucky not to take a point when a stunning Carlos Hernandez volley struck the crossbar.
The loss leaves Victory three points adrift of the sixth-placed Newcastle Jets, who meet Perth Glory later on Saturday night.
With Archie Thompson starting on the bench after an injury scare during the week, it was Roar who made the dream start through A-League top-scorer Berisha.
The Albanian striker wriggled his way past four Victory markers before blasting his right-footed effort past Ante Covic via the underside of the crossbar.
Victory responded almost immediately with Kewell and Jean Carlos Solorzano forcing Michael Theoklitos into saves.
Jim Magilton's men were level on nine minutes when Kewell struck his sixth goal of the campaign.
Marco Rojas ran confidently at the Roar defence, setting up the 55-time Qantas Socceroo, who drilled in from the left side of the area.
Roar midfielder Erik Paartalu forced Covic into a full-stretch save, before Solorzano netted, but his tap-in was correctly ruled out for offside in the 26th minute.
The hosts were ahead just after the half-hour after a well-worked passing move.
German midfielder Thomas Broich threaded a pass through to Henrique down the right, and the Brazilian squared for Berisha to apply the simplest of finishes at the back post and complete his brace.
Victory looked content to try and hit Roar on the counter-attack, but the champions opened up a two-goal advantage six minutes before the break.
Spanish defender Ubay Luzardo fouled Paartalu in the area, before Henrique side-footed his penalty into the bottom corner after a stuttering run-up.
It was Kewell who handed Victory a lifeline five minutes after half-time.
The 33-year-old intercepted a pass from Broich before speeding past defender Mohamed Adnan and finishing superbly into the bottom corner.
Covic denied Berisha with a neat save, while Kewell blasted a half-chance from the edge of the area over the bar as he searched for his hat-trick.
It was Hernandez who was unfortunate not to level proceedings in the 71st minute.
The Costa Rican midfielder's sweetly struck volley from 25 yards crashed against the crossbar and bounced clear after it had beaten Theoklitos.
Victory continued to push for an equaliser but it was to no avail as Roar held on for a hard-fought win.
Brisbane Roar 3 (Besart Berisha 1, 32, Henrique 39(pen))
Melbourne Victory 2 (Harry Kewell 9, 50)