Jamie Maclaren's hot run of form continues, with the Socceroos striker's first A-League appearance of the season yielding a brace to help Melbourne City to a 2-1 victory over Adelaide United.
Fresh off four goals in two appearances for Australia and six FFA Cup goals, Maclaren struck in the 24th and 28th minutes at AAMI Park to hand City their opening win in front of 7,339 fans on Sunday.
Coach Erick Mombaerts was naturally happy with the result but not necessarily "the style we have played today." He said: "The first half was (good enough), yes, we scored two goals - we had also some good chances at the beginning of the first half. But in the second half I expect better; I expect with our team better control of the game."
City and Adelaide swung four and five changes respectively, both sides rotating their line-ups ahead of Wednesday's FFA Cup final.
City drew first blood in the 24th minute when Connor Metcalfe's blocked shot fell to Maclaren, who controlled the ball with his thigh, then toe-poked past Paul Izzo.
City's second came just four minutes later, when off the back of a short corner, captain Scott Jamieson looped a ball into the mixer, with Rostyn Griffiths and Richard Windbichler going up for the header. It fell to Maclaren, who powered it home with his left foot. He continued to probe, searching for his hat-trick but was unable to deliver it.
With City failing to put the game away, Adelaide hit back in the 67th minute, courtesy of former City loanee Riley McGree.
City's defence failed to clear a set piece, with Michael Marrone holding up the ball and working it back to McGree, who powered a shot into the bottom corner.
He then scuppered a chance to equalise in the 72nd minute: Louis D'Arrigo won the ball in defence and found Nikola Mileusnic, who dashed down the left and whipped it to the back post, only for McGree to send it wide. From there, City held on to claim all three points.
Adelaide coach Gertjan Verbeek said he felt City had been the better team but praised his side for their fight in the second half.
"We have to look to ourselves and improve ourselves to get a better result because we make too many mistakes and that's giving a good opponent too many opportunities and they used two of them," Verbeek said.
Adelaide will hope Ben Halloran is fit for the FFA Cup final, after he withdrew from Sunday's game through illness.