Melbourne Victory saw its five-match unbeaten run ended in the Hyundai A-League with a 2-1 loss to Perth Glory at AAMI Park on Sunday.
Kosta Barbarouses scored late for Victory, which had fallen behind to a Neil Kilkenny penalty and Diego Castro goal in the second half.
Victory also welcomed back Keisuke Honda from injury, but it fell seven points behind the league leader.
After an even start, Victory created a slight opening in the 11th minute, Barbarouses firing a tough chance wide from a James Troisi pass.
Victory was bright early in front of a massive crowd, with Elvis Kamsoba shooting straight at Glory goalkeeper Liam Reddy on the turn soon after.
Ivan Franjic and Jason Davidson put efforts off target for Perth, while Chris Ikonomidis hit the side-netting in the 34th minute.
Victory pushed late in the half and went close through Kenny Athiu, whose powerful strike from an angle was saved by Reddy.
The battle continued after the break, with Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas needing to push away an Ikonomidis shot in the 57th minute.
Perth took the lead four minutes later, Thomas just unable to get enough of a hand on Kilkenny’s penalty after a Corey Brown handball in the area.
Honda and Georg Niedermeier were introduced by Victory before Terry Antonis saw an effort fly just wide.
But Perth doubled its lead in the 69th minute, Ikonomidis’ cross from the left finding Castro to volley home.
Barbarouses powered a shot wide in the 75th minute after a fine Raul Baena pass, and the forward pulled one back moments later.
Leigh Broxham played Barbarouses in with a fine pass and the New Zealander found the bottom corner for his 10th goal of the season.
But the closest Victory came to an equaliser was Honda firing over from 20 yards after Andy Keogh had squandered a great chance for Perth.
Player in focus
What they said – Broxham
on the late fight…
“We’ve always pushed in games as we did at the end and Kosta got one back and they shut the game down well, they made it difficult for us, couple of half-chances and there weren’t too many chances in the game and they took theirs and it wasn’t to be.”
on Honda’s return and taking risks…
“You’re losing 2-0 at home, you do take a few more chances and you can give up chances at the other end on the break. Keisuke came in and he’s a quality player and he does make a difference for us. It’s just disappointing we couldn’t get something from the game.”
Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Round 18
Melbourne Victory 1 (Kosta Barbarouses 78′)
Perth Glory 2 (Neil Kilkenny 61′ pen, Diego Castro 69′)
Melbourne Victory: Thomas (gk); Roux (Niedermeier 62′), Deng, Broxham (c), Brown; Baena; Antonis, Troisi, Kamsoba; Barbarouses, Athiu (Honda 62′).
Perth Glory: Reddy (gk); Djulbic, Spiranovic, Lowry; Franjic (Neville 86′), Juande, Kilkenny, Davidson; Chianese (Keogh 75′), Castro (c), Ikonomidis (Brimmer 83′).
Yellow cards: Athiu 39′, Antonis 47′, Baena 72′, Reddy 81′
Red cards: Nil
Venue: AAMI Park
Victory makes the trip to Eden Park to face the Wellington Phoenix on Friday, February 15.