Reigning champions Brisbane Roar have slumped to the bottom of the A-League table on the back of a 4-1 thrashing which lifted Melbourne Heart into the top six.
Last night’s win at AAMI Park lifted the Heart off the bottom in emphatic style, leaving the Roar in last spot and on a three-match losing streak.
The home side led 1-0 at the break thanks to a 20th minute goal from defender Patrick Gerhardt which capitalised on his side’s early dominance as they continually stripped the Roar of the ball in their own half.
The momentum turned the Roar’s way late in the first half as they regained their composure and produced some nice passing chains to cause the Heart some nervous moments.
They were unlucky not to level in the 40th minute. A desperate Mitch Nichols did superbly to keep the ball from going over the end line, knocking it back for Henrique to seemingly score, only for it to be incorrectly awarded a goal kick.
Brisbane continued pressing early in the second half, before the game turned decisively with the Heart scoring three times in 12 minutes.
The first of those came in the 62nd minute to former Socceroo Richard Garcia, after some beautiful set-up work from Croatian attacker Josip Tadic, who worked his way into the box then laid it off for the Australian.
Garcia returned the favour nine minutes later, winning a penalty from a loose tackle by Matthew Jurman, with Tadic converting from the spot.
Substitute David Williams made it a four-goal lead within three minutes, breaking free on a swift counterattack then ramming home a curling right-footer.
Henrique bagged a consolation goal in the 82nd minute, the Roar’s first in three games.
But it would have done little to ease coach Rado Vidosic’s concerns over the way a side that built a record 36-match unbeaten streak on the way to back-to-back championships during the past two seasons was so soundly beaten.