Perth Glory restated their A-League title credentials in convincing fashion on Friday, holding off Melbourne Victory for a 2-1 away win.
Early goals from Andy Keogh and Chris Harold sealed an important triumph for Kenny Lowe's men, who survived conceding a second-half penalty to extend their lead to seven points at the top of the table with one round remaining before the break for the AFC Asian Cup.
It was just a second defeat of the league season for Victory, who came within inches of equalising when Archie Thompson's header hit the crossbar with 16 minutes remaining.
Kevin Muscat's side, missing several key players through injury and international duty, will surely stay firmly in the hunt for silverware despite this setback.
Perth moved ahead in the ninth minute when the much-maligned Ruben Zadkovich performed a great piece of skill to beat two men before feeding Nebojsa Marinkovic, whose ball forward led to Keogh outmuscling Adrian Leijer and finishing confidently.
Marinkovic was also involved in the Glory's second goal seven minutes later, his throughball prompting goalkeeper Nathan Coe to race from his line, only to be beaten to the ball by Harold.
The striker found an unguarded net, but Victory pulled one back through Besart Berisha's 58th-minute spot-kick after Guilherme Finkler had gone to ground under Scott Jamieson's challenge.
Thompson nearly snatched a point for the hosts, but Perth held on for a valuable victory.