It was the first time the Reds had beaten the Victory since October 2007 and their first win in Melbourne since October 2006 thanks to a first-half strike from Marcos Flores, plus three goals in 21 minutes in the second half, two of which came from Sergio van Dijk.
The win ended a 10-match losing streak for the Reds against the two-time champions who managed a late consolation goal through Mate Dugandzic.
Tempers were frayed in the second half with eight yellow cards, plus a red to Victory skipper Kevin Muscat when the score was 2-0.
Adelaide remained second with the win, bridging the gap with league leaders Brisbane Roar to nine points, whilst Melbourne dropped into equal goal difference territory but stayed fifth on the table.
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Peter Green
Yellow cards: MV - Ricardinho 26’, Kevin Muscat 57’/65’, Evan Berger 77’, Danny Allsopp 81’, Marvin Angulo 87’
AU - Francisco Usucar 46’, Fabian Barbiero 77’, Marcos Flores 79’
Red card: MV - Kevin Muscat 65’
Kevin Muscat returned to the Victory line-up after being rested for the disappointing 2-0 loss to Wellington Phoenix whilst Adelaide opted for Mark Birighitti in goal again, leaving Eugene Galekovic on the bench as he continues to recover from a wrist injury.
The opening 10 minutes was a cagey affair with not much happening at either end until the Reds kicked into gear, scoring the opener in the 12th minute which was just their fifth goal in the past 11 meetings with the Victory.
GOAL Iain Ramsay played the ball into space in front of himself down the left flank, drawing Muscat out, before sending a teasing ball into the area where Travis Dodd somehow won a header at the back post into the path of Marcos Flores who finished with ease from close range, exposing Victory keeper Michael Petkovic.
Adelaide had another good chance moments later when defender Robert Cornthwaite got on the end of a Flores free-kick but his header looped over the crossbar as the visitors made their intentions very clear.
In the 17th minute, Carlos Hernandez almost produced a moment of magic for the Victory when his dead ball attempt from a tight angle was only inches away from dropping over Birighitti’s head before Reds midfielder Adam Hughes forced Petkovic into a save with a driving effort from way outside the area as the standard of the contest started to pick up.
Victory’s Ricardinho was booked for diving in the 26th minute as Adelaide newboy Francisco Usucar started making his presence felt through the midfield just as things began heating up. Melbourne midfielder Grant Brebner appeared to purposely handball whilst in a tussle with Ramsay when Adelaide were on the break but despite calls from the visiting bench, referee Peter Green waved play on.
The Victory seemed to be lacking cohesion for the most part but put together a nice move when Hernandez played in Billy Celeski in the 37th minute but the midfielder’s left-foot shot around his body was devoid of any venom.
The 39th minute saw Cassio make a surging run down the left, beating off Hernandez, before supplying an enticing aerial ball for Sergio van Dijk but the Dutchman’s header fell into the arms of Petkovic as the home side dodged a bullet before play switched to the other end where Hernandez forced a top save from Birighitti in the 44th minute in what was the last play of any consequence for the opening half.
Cassio kicked off the second half with a positive run and shot across goal for the Reds before van Dijk got rid of two defenders before unleashing a shot from outside which stung the palms of Petkovic in the 52nd minute.
The Victory had a good chance in the 55th minute but Ricardinho lost possession at a crucial moment before the Reds were forced to clear off the line from the ensuing corner when Muscat put the ball into a dangerous position.
The Melbourne skipper was then booked for bringing down Cassio in the Adelaide third.
GOAL van Dijk stepped up to the dead ball situation which lay in excess of 25 yards out but the league’s leading scorer smashed a swerving shot with the outside of his boot which slammed into the top left corner to make it 2-0.
Eight minutes after the goal, Muscat was given his marching orders when he was booked for a second time, this time for a trailing arm which made contact with the face of Adam Hughes. The decision attracted the ire of the Victory fans but there was no doubt that there was plenty of contact made.
The Victory then had two solid chances after the skipper was sent off, first from Danny Allsopp who completely scuffed his shot under no apparent pressure in the area before Evan Berger dribbled around his marker before swinging a left-footed shot that slid just over the bar.
GOAL Not to be outdone, the Reds grabbed a third through substitute Fabian Barbiero who scored with his first touch when the ball dropped to him from a Ramsay corner. Iain Fyfe’s initial header was cleared off the line by Marvin Angulo but Barbiero was on hand to knock it home from basically the goal line.
Tempers frayed a few minutes later when Berger made an overzealous challenge whilst Usucar was on the ground, prompting Adelaide players to react to the treatment the Urugayan had received and the visitors then managed a fourth from the ensuing free-kick.
GOAL The long ball from behind the halfway line evaded Victory defender Roddy Vargas as van Dijk got clear of his marker and got a toe on the ball just before an advancing Petkovic made contact with him, only to see the ball trickle into the back of the net for his 13th of the season.
The action fizzled out of the match in the dying stages as Adelaide were happy to soak it all up and enjoy their first win over the Victory in over two years although the home side got a late GOAL through substitute Mate Dugandzic.
Michael Petkovic (gk), Kevin Muscat, Grant Brebner, Ricardinho (Dugandzic 74’), Roddy Vargas, Diogo Ferreira, Billy Celeski, Carlos Hernandez, Danny Allsopp, Evan Berger (Broxham 87’), Adrian Leijer (Angulo 46’)
Subs - Sebastian Mattei (gk), Marvin Angulo (46’), Mate Dugandzic (74’), Leigh Broxham (87’)
Mark Birighitti (gk), Robert Cornthwaite, Iain Fyfe, Cassio, Adam Hughes, Sergio van Dijk (Pantelis 81’), Marcos Flores, Travis Dodd (Barbiero 73’), Cameron Watson, Iain Ramsay, Francisco Usucar (Reid 78’)