A clinical performance from Melbourne City saw them slip past Brisbane Roar 1-0 at AAMI Park.
Ritchie de Laet proved the difference, not for his superb defending or even his leadership, but for his goalscoring prowess.
In a clear sign of City's struggles offensively, the standout quality within Melbourne's side was chucked up front in a free role. In another clear sign of how fluid their forward passing can be, and how resolute their defending always is, that was enough.
De Laet's strike was all that separated the sides - once again, the Roar were close but no cigar.
MELBOURNE CITY FC
Eugene Galekovic - 7
Quiet first half, the only real action picking the ball out of the back of the net from Adam Taggart's offside goal. Some solid saves in the second.
Harrison Delbridge - 8
Played strongly at right-back, a real physical presence, accurate looping throw-ins from the big fella.
Bart Schenkeveld - 8
Very reliable in possession as always, one of the best passers in the competition, not to mention his exemplary challenges and concentration within his own penalty area. Slightly mixed second half as City were stretched trying to defend their lead.
Curtis Good - 7
Solid performance, moving the ball intelligently, cool under Brisbane's 'meh' pressure. Either Delbridge or Good have a huge opportunity to become masters of their craft under a Schenkeveld apprenticeship.
Ritchie de Laet - 7.5
He didn't look convincing playing as a sort of false nine, roaming number 10, night watchman, whatever it was, in the first half. He's not a striker, not a playmaker. He naturally pushed out wide from semi-dangerous central positions to put in crosses.
But he is a very good-quality footballer, he exploited Brisbane's lackadaisical defending, created space for himself and easily latched onto a cross to give City the lead.
Completely nullified Dane Ingham's attacking threat, could have scored a screamer in the second.
Rostyn Griffiths - 7.5
One powerful effort unlucky not to send his side into half-time a goal ahead.
Kearyn Baccus - 7.5
A very calm and self-possessed first half included world-class through balls, but was let down by his obvious shooting inadequacies.
Luke Brattan - 7
Not his best performance, some lousy crosses by his own high standards, but still solid.
Lachlan Wales - 6.5
Heavily involved, with decent build-up play but inexperience in key situations. A marquee striker would have netted given his chances, but if we're rating him as a up-and-comer, rather than a starting striker, he did very well.
Riley McGree - N/A
Subbed on the 15th minute after a knee collision.
Nathaniel Atkinson - 6
He bombs forward regularly and works hard, shows potential, but gives the ball away too easily. He also should have converted a header off a plumb Ritchie de Laet cross, but appeared slightly scared of the ball.
Osama Malik - 6
Couldn't add a lot of solidity as Brisbane pressed forward.
Dario Vidosic - 6
Not involved enough, didn't settle the ball or retain possession.
Jamie Young - 8
Absolutely superb, at least three world class saves in the first half alone. He has a Jens Lehmann-esque ability to save with his feet.
Dane Ingham - 5.5
Unable to find a way past or around Scott Jamieson, which is a little disappointing from a young lad who inconsistently shows very promising attribute.
Connor O'Toole - 6
Had a few shaky moments defensively, but also recovered well in instances.
Jacob Pepper - 6
Although he mops up well and reads the game reasonably effectively, hence his utility-style in the A-League, it wasn't a very composed performance and Pepper was lucky to be saved by Galekovic at times.
Luke De Vere - 6
Great to see the ex-Socceroo back in the league after emerging from seeming purgatory so far this season. He's going to take awhile to get up to speed (and fitness, he's looking pretty baulky).
Jack Hingert - 7
Few nice clearances, equanimous defending. Pressed forward dangerously at times.
Álex López - 6.5
A little erratic, a great pass one moment a stupid challenge the next.
Matt McKay - 6
Ineffective and almost imperceptible as a forward-thinking number 10,
Thomas Kristensen - 6
Very aggressive and like Lopez, didn't do his job in midfield.
Éric Bautheac - 5
Invisible, rubbish crosses.
Adam Taggart - 7
Involved himself, showed quality, finished beautifully but his first half goal was ruled painfully closely-offside. No benefit of the doubt, that's for sure.
Stefan Nigro - 7
Played a convincing role in Brisbane's late-second half resurgence.
Nick D'Agostino - 7.5
He's looking like a quality central-attacking prospect, it will be surprising if he remains on the bench much longer.
Henrique - 7.5
Brilliant as a sub, he always has an effect on matches - more than you can say for so many A-League footballers.