Adelaide United have all but locked in a home A-League final and left Melbourne Heart's top-six chances creaking with a 2-0 win at AAMI Park on Monday night.
Dario Vidosic's first-half penalty and a second-half goal to winger Iain Ramsay snapped the Reds' indifferent form and Heart's good home run.
The victory lifts Adelaide nine points clear of fifth place with three matches remaining, with the third and fourth-placed sides at the end of the regular season guaranteed home finals.
But Heart now slide to second-bottom after other weekend results went against them, though they are just a win out of the top six in the closely congested battle to make the playoffs.
In front of a crowd of just over 5,000, Heart were left to rue some missed early first-half chances.
Midfielder Nick Kalmar had three good attempts in three minutes and Reds goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic was forced into two outstanding saves.
In a tense opening half, Adelaide twice hit the woodwork from long-range shots - early through Tomi Juric and after 32 minutes from Vidosic.
But the game-changer came five minutes before halftime when Reds midfielder Marcelo Carrusca tumbled under high but minimal contact from Heart defender Jeremy Walker, and referee Chris Beath was convinced enough to award a penalty.
Vidosic made no mistake from the spot.
Then Ramsay sealed it on 53 minutes as the Reds unlocked Heart's defence with some neat interpassing, and the winger hammered home from an acute angle.