Adelaide United emphatically ended Perth Glory's unbeaten start to the A-League season with a commanding 2-0 victory at Coopers Stadium on Sunday.
Showing no signs of fatigue following Tuesday's extra-time FFA Cup away win over Sydney FC and minus star striker Bruce Djite (calf), the Reds bossed proceedings from the outset against a static Glory outfit brought back to earth with a thud, Sergio Cirio and Awer Mabil striking gold either side of half-time in a one-sided contest.
1-0 (Cirio 18')
Played in by an exquisite Marcelo Carrusca through ball, Sergio Cirio punched the ball into the right-hand corner of the net with a quality one-tough finish from 10m, giving Perth keeper Danny Vukovic no chance.
2-0 (Mabil 68')
Craig Goodwin won a 50/50 challenge against Glory substitute Youssouf Hersi before embarking on a sweeping run and nicely feeding Awer Mabil, who cut inside and wrong-footed Vukovic by slotting one in close, one-on-one.
Irish spearhead Andy Keogh, last week's hat-trick hero, had a prime opportunity to equalise in the 37th minute and deflate the front-running hosts.
Keogh was barely five yards out and had only Eugene Galekovic between him and the net, but the former Wolverhampton Wanderers was unable to control the ball and tamely miscued a rare Perth shot.
The visitors needed to make every post a winner against an Adelaide outfit with its tail up and dominant in virtually every facet of the game.
Carrusca was the quarterbacking, match-winner for the Reds. Afforded the time and space he likes, the magician was at his creative best with his ball use and decision making.
His cross to Cirio which handed the Reds the early lead was world-class and his searing, curling strike in the 44th minute forced a desperate, wonderful, diving save from Vukovic.
As Perth's ability to match Adelaide in general play dipped, so did their discipline. The visitors conceded five second-half yellow cards, including four bookings in the last 18 minutes.
The last of them, Jamie Maclaren's frustrated and ill-advised stomp on Isaias was an ugly moment and could land the young Glory centre forward in hot water.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
Hersi was injected into the contest after half-time to give Perth an attacking boost in the middle, but he needed to be more switched on against a hungry, confident United outfit.
The Dutchman's lack of desperation in a crucial 50/50 contest with Goodwin was the catalyst for Adelaide's second goal.
WHAT THEY SAID
"He's (Gombau) taught me a lot of things, he's like a father to me. He believes in me so I've got to give back and I believe in him as well.
"We've (Young Socceroos) got good talent in Australia and we should be at the World Cup but it's unfortunate. I'm just going to focus on my club now."
"Full credit to Adelaide they dominated the game from start to finish. Second half we lost our shape as we were trying to press for the draw.
"The confidence is still high, our structure was a little bit off today, I think the pressure on the ball was lacking today. Back to the FFA Cup and we're looking forward to Wednesday."
THE FINAL WORD
Adelaide United looked at ease returning to their Hindmarsh stronghold, where they will take some serious beating this season.
Perth's bubble was well and truly burst by a quality, seasoned opponent but Kenny Lowe's men will be confident of bouncing back when they host the winless Newcastle Jets on Saturday.
Adelaide United: Galekovic (c), Boogaard, Malik (McGowan 88'), Pablo Sanchez (Mabil 61'), Isaias, Cirio, Carrusca, Goodwin, Jeggo, Elrich, Ferreira (Marrone 69')
Perth Glory: Vukovic, Griffiths, Djulbic, Keogh, Marinkovic (Hersi 45'), Garcia (O'Neill 73'), Maclaren, Nichols, Risdon, Jamieson, Thwaite (c)
Scorers: Cirio (18'), Mabil (68')
Red cards: Nil
Yellow cards: Jamieson (57'), Garcia (72'), Thwaite (77'), Griffiths (79'), Maclaren (86')
Conditions: 25°C, humid