A 10-man Melbourne Victory saw its four-match unbeaten run ended with a 2-1 loss to Wellington Phoenix in the Hyundai A-League.
Victory was dealt an early blow at Westpac Stadium on Wednesday as Rhys Williams was sent off after just eight minutes.
After taking the lead through Kosta Barbarouses, Victory was beaten through a Roy Krishna strike and Mark Milligan own goal in the second half.
It marked Victory’s first defeat since going down to Adelaide United on December 8.
There was early controversy as Williams was sent off, ruled to have denied an obvious goalscoring opportunity in bringing down Andrija Kaluderovic.
Williams was initially shown a yellow card, but that decision was upgraded with the help of the video assistant referee (VAR).
Matthew Ridenton struck the post for the Phoenix in the 15th minute, while Lawrence Thomas made a good save to deny Kaluderovic.
Despite being down to 10 men, Victory created a great opportunity in the 34th minute, Barbarouses volleying over after a chipped pass from Matias Sanchez.
The visitors continued to look dangerous as Barbarouses was denied by a last-ditch Tom Doyle clearance after being put in beautifully by Leroy George.
Victory opened the scoring five minutes before the break.
Barbarouses ran at the Phoenix defence before turning his marker down the right and firing past Lewis Italiano at the near post.
A Kaluderovic goal was correctly ruled out for offside early in the second half before a sliding challenge from Leigh Broxham – making his 200th Hyundai A-League start – denied Krishna to keep Victory ahead.
Thomas was forced to scramble back and tip away a Doyle clearance that turned into a shot from just inside the Victory half in the 55th minute.
But Wellington equalised nine minutes later as Krishna tapped in after Thomas was unable to hold onto a Nathan Burns strike.
Matija Ljujic headed a Doyle cross wide in the 72nd minute for Wellington and Burns was unable to turn in a close-range chance.
However, the Phoenix found a winner with seven minutes remaining, Burns’ cross from the left going in via Milligan.
Thomas made good late saves to deny Kaluderovic and Ridenton, with Victory unable to find a late equaliser.
Player in focus
Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Round 15
Wellington Phoenix 2 (Roy Krishna 64′, Mark Milligan 83′ og)
Melbourne Victory 1 (Kosta Barbarouses 40′)
Wellington Phoenix: Italiano (gk), Fox, Mullen, Durante (c), Rossi (Burns 22′), Doyle, McGlinchey (Ljujic 45′), Paracki, Ridenton, Krishna, Kaluderovic
Melbourne Victory: Thomas (gk), Geria, Djulbic, Williams, Broxham, Sanchez (Antonis 58′), Milligan (c), Troisi, Barbarouses, Berisha (Nigro 86′), George
Yellow cards: McGlinchey 18′, Broxham 37′, Burns 58′, Fox 61′, Barbarouses 82′
Red cards: Williams 8′
Venue: Westpac Stadium
Victory is back at home in Round 16, hosting Perth Glory at AAMI Park on Saturday, January 13. Tickets available here.