FIFA World Cup-bound Adelaide United Socceroo Craig Goodwin signed off with a crucial goal and assist before leaving for the Qatari tournament.
Goodwin scored from the penalty spot in the 84th minute to give Adelaide a comfortable 2-0 lead over Melbourne Victory before the visitors were forced to endure more pain.
He delivered a pinpoint dead-ball cross for Adelaide stopper Ben Warland’s debut Reds’ goal in stoppage time, which completed a 3-0 rout at Coopers Stadium on Friday night before the A-League takes a World Cup break.
However, the pair took a tumble in the celebration, forcing McGree to spend a rather lengthy period attempting to put the corner flag back together.
Adelaide dominated from start to finish when Japanese man mountain Hiroshi Ibusuki scored the opener with a trademark header from 12 yards in the 37th minute.
Former Reds gloveman Paul Izzo stretched every sinew in his body in a bid to keep the ball out of the net but Ibusuki’s timing from a Ryan Kitto cross was perfect.
The goal arrived a minute after half of the new eastern grandstand’s floodlights failed before power was restored in the second half.
With Nani – a former Manchester United star that won the 2016 European Championship with the superstar Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal – lining up for Victory, Adelaide drew 13,504 fans to the clash which is perhaps no coincidence.
It was Adelaide’s biggest home audience since the 2019/20 season was interrupted by COVID-19 when 12,198 fans watched United beat Victory 3-1.
It was a frustrating first half for both sides until Ibusuki’s goal, but Nani had a shout for a penalty in the 25th minute just seconds after Izzo was forced into a save from a Kitto cross.
The Portuguese appeared to be fouled by Kitto on the edge of the box, but referee Adam Kersey and the VAR failed to intervene.
Izzo was jeered by some Reds fans, but it didn’t put him off his game when he was forced into a reflex save from a deflection from Victory’s Spaniard, Kadete in the 34th minute.
Adelaide was in command in the second half with Goodwin scuffing a brilliant chance to make it 2-0 just after the hour.
Victory boss Tony Popovic made two changes in a bid to recapture momentum when Nani and prolific marksman Bruno Fornaroli ended their shifts for Nicholas D’Agostino and Jake Brimmer four minutes later.
Izzo then made a brilliant save from a Ben Halloran effort in the 73rd minute as Reds coach Carl Veart kept his starting 11 intact.
Victory’s best chance of the clash arrived in the 79th minute when Brimmer and D’Agostino combined before Chris Ikonomidis’ reflex header sailed wide.
Veart made three changes in the 82nd minute when midfielder Louis D’Arrigo – a shock omission from last weekend’s away win over Western United – George Blackwood and Harry van der Saag replaced Juande, Ethan Alagich and Ibusuki.
SA’s A-League assistant referee Paul Cetrangolo signed off a sterling 22-year career with a solid last outing holding the flag.
Adelaide United 3 (Hiroshi Ibusuki 37m, Craig Goodwin 84m, Ben Warland 90m)
Melbourne Victory 0 at Coopers Stadium – Referee: Adam Kersey