Melbourne Victory extended its winning streak to five in the Hyundai A-League, beating Adelaide United 2-0 at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.
Kosta Barbarouses and Ola Toivonen scored fine second-half goals to settle a tight encounter.
Both teams struggled to create clear-cut chances, but Victory made the most of its moments to move top of the table.
Victory suffered an early setback, the returning Georg Niedermeier coming off due to an ankle injury.
Adelaide almost opened the scoring in the 15th minute, full-back Michael Marrone’s header from a corner thundering against the crossbar.
Toivonen threatened for Victory five minutes later, the striker’s 20-yard effort palmed away by Reds goalkeeper Paul Izzo.
Victory had penalty shouts for an apparent Scott Galloway handball turned down approaching the half-hour mark, while Lawrence Thomas made a good save down low to deny Marrone in first-half additional time.
Thomas did enough to deny Apostolos Stamatelopoulos early in the second half, the forward poking wide after the goalkeeper closed him down.
Stamatelopoulos headed another chance wide for the Reds shortly after the hour-mark, before Victory opened the scoring.
Toivonen forced a good save from Izzo with a header from Terry Antonis’ cross, and Barbarouses was on hand to tuck away the rebound for his second goal in as many games.
Thomas was once again called into action in the 73rd minute, the Victory goalkeeper pushing away a Ben Halloran effort in a one-on-one.
Marrone’s cross-cum-shot also had Thomas scrambling as the shot-stopper tipped the effort over his crossbar before the 26-year-old also had to stop a Craig Goodwin strike.
Toivonen sealed Victory’s win, the striker playing a one-two with Antonis – who back-heeled his return pass – before finishing into the bottom corner.
Keisuke Honda fired a late chance wide for Victory, which closed out a deserved win.
Player in focus
What they said – Toivonen
on what changed in the second half…
“It was tough in the first half, but we know Adelaide are going to come here and play compact and we know the space is going to be bigger in the second half and we just kept patience and very happy, of course, two goals and it’s a beautiful Saturday.”
on his form…
“It feels good, getting to know the players more and more and we feel we have big confidence at the moment so onto the next one.”
Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Round 7
Melbourne Victory 2 (Kosta Barbarouses 62′, Ola Toivonen 81′)
Adelaide United 0
Melbourne Victory: Thomas (gk); Roux, Deng, Niedermeier (Troisi 9′ (Hope 86′)), Brown; Valeri (c); Honda, Antonis, Broxham; Barbarouses (Akbari 90+3′), Toivonen.
Adelaide United: Izzo (gk); Marrone, Elsey, Jakobsen, Galloway (Mileusnic 73′); Strain, Lia (Konstandopoulos 84′), Isaias (c), Goodwin; Halloran, Stamatelopoulos (Armiento 80′).
Yellow cards: Halloran 30′, Troisi 60′, Barbarouses 84′, Lia 84′, Hope 90′
Red cards: Nil
Venue: Marvel Stadium
Victory makes the trip to Brisbane to face the Roar on Friday, December 14.