Adrian Leijer received his marching orders in the opening 45 minutes but Victory still climbed to fourth on the table courtesy of a 3-0 win over the Reds at Etihad Stadium
Melbourne Victory survived the sending off of Adrian Leijer to beat Adelaide United 3-0 and record their first win in three A-League matches on Saturday night.
Kosta Barbarouses' first Victory goal, together with strikes from Archie Thompson and Mitch Nichols, got the job done for the hosts in the Round 7 clash at Etihad Stadium, despite Leijer receiving his marching orders on the stroke of half-time.
Victory climbed to fourth on the table ahead of Perth Glory's match at home to Central Coast later on Saturday night, while Adelaide suffered a fourth defeat from their last five outings to remain in eighth position.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat produced something of a surprise with his starting XI, leaving out Jason Geria and deploying Leigh Broxham, nominally a holding player, at right-back, as captain Mark Milligan returned from international duty to partner Rashid Mahazi in central midfield. Barbarouses started in place of Connor Pain.
For the visitors, Nigel Boogaard came in for the ill Jonathan McKain, while coach Josep Gombau opted to retain Cassio at left-back, picking Michael Zullo on the left wing and pushing Sergio Cirio inside, with Steven Lustica the man to miss out.
But Adelaide encountered an unforseen difficulty when Cassio was forced off after just 12 minutes, requiring the introduction of Lustica and prompting Zullo to drop into defence.
Two minutes later, Victory snapped the game's early lethargy by winning the ball inside the visitors' half and springing a fast counterattack to open the scoring.
Thompson's insightful pass split the Adelaide defence and released James Troisi, who squared for Barbarouses to slot home a simple chance and open his account in navy blue and white.
Victory should have made it 2-0 in the 32nd minute, but Thompson shot wide of the near post from close range following good approach work by Barbarouses and Milligan.
While Adelaide struggled to create any clear-cut chances in the first 45 minutes, they did receive a major boost just before the half-time break, when Leijer was sent off for a second bookable offence, dragging down Cirio on the right wing, having earlier lunged in on Marcelo Carrusca.
Muscat sacrificed Troisi to introduce Nick Ansell, but, in farcical scenes, the replacement centre-back was booked for entering the field of play before his attacking colleague realised his number was up.
Troisi made no secret of his displeasure at being the player sacrificed and appeared set to disappear directly down the tunnel in an act of protest, drawing a stinging rebuke from his coach.
After the resumption it took Adelaide until the 63rd minute to threaten a stubborn Victory backline, when Zullo flashed a tempting ball across the face of goal.
Three minutes later the away team were offered a golden opportunity to equalise, as Jeronimo Neumann went down in the area under minimal contact from Pablo Contreras, who was booked by referee by Ben Williams.
However, Cirio failed to convert from the spot, directing a weak effort straight at Victory goalkeeper Nathan Coe.
And the hosts wasted little time in punishing Adelaide for their profligacy, doubling their lead barely a minute after the missed penalty.
Thompson made amends for his glaring miss in the first half, tucking home a Barbarouses cut-back after Nichols had flicked out a boot and failed to connect.
Victory made the points safe in the 76th minute via a classic piece of route-one football. Coe cleared the ball deep into opposition territory and Adelaide's centre-backs fatally allowed it to bounce. Nichols then snuck in ahead of Reds goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic, tucking the ball home to make it 3-0.
Next up for Victory is a trip to face the Mariners on Friday night, while Adelaide will aim to end their win drought when they return to Melbourne to face the Heart two days later.