Goal-fest breaks A-League round record
A record 27 goals, three hat-tricks, a trio of hidings, a toxic tackle and a couple of heated derbies - week 24 of the A-League was far from dull.
Adelaide's 8-1 drubbing of cellar dwellers North Queensland was the highlight of the round with trebles by two imports, Dutchman Sergio van Dijk and Argentine Marcos Flores.
Gold Cost United produced a 5-1 thrashing of the Newcastle Jets courtesy of the round's third hat-trick by Bruce Djite, but United received a massive blow with skipper Jason Culina aggravating a knee injury while on Socceroo duty at the Asian Cup.
The timing couldn't be worse for the fourth-placed Gold Coast as they take on the three top teams - Brisbane, Central Coast and Adelaide - in their remaining five games before the finals.
The Melbourne derby saw newcomers the Heart comeback from two goals down to level the score 2-2 thanks to a brace by John Aloisi.
The heated clash saw the Victory's fiery skipper Kevin Muscat sent off for the second time in successive matches for an X-rated challenge on Heart midfielder Adrian Zahra.
The Victory now sit in fifth place, a point above their crosstown rivals.
Wellington Phoenix demolished 10th-placed battlers Perth Glory 4-0 at what has become their fortress this season, Westpac Stadium.
The Phoenix now sit just a point outside a top six finish with four matches left to play in the regular season.
The final match of the round, an action packed NSW derby between a desperate Sydney FC and the Central Coast Mariners, saw impressive teen Dimitri Petratos score a double to put the visitors in front.
The Mariners equalised to salvage a point and leapfrog Adelaide to reclaim second spot on the ladder.
Sydney FC, who remain in ninth place, have now given up any hope of making the finals and will focus on the Asian Champions League instead.