A first-half injury to Alessandro Del Piero compounded Sydney FC's woes as they went down 4-0 to Brisbane Roar on Saturday night, but coach Frank Farina refused to use the loss of his talismanic captain as an excuse for the heavy defeat.
Scores were locked at nil-all when a calf strain curtailed the Italian's night 32 minutes into the game, and Brisbane had piled on three goals before the whistle was blown to end the first half.
Sydney had conceded possession to the Roar in the opening stages, but maintained a tight defensive system which saw the hosts struggle to create many clear chances.
Conceding this first goal was the killer blow for Sydney, according to Farina, whose side went on to ship two more in the next seven minutes, with Henrique bundling the ball over the line from close range after a corner was taken short, and Jade North finishing well after Nicky Carle had given away possession to Matt McKay in midfield.
"We were frustrating them I think," Farina said.
"And then the two set pieces, and after that there was only one team.
"I was disappointed with our performance, especially after last week, but as I said to the players, we've got the derby next week so we've got to get ready for that."
The full extent of Del Piero's knock would be known in the coming days, said Farina, though the coach was doubtful the former Juventus man would be ready to face the Western Sydney Wanderers next week.
"I think he'll be doubtful for next week," he said. "He hurt his calf, but we'll see. I don't really know, they said they'll have some scans tomorrow so we'll wait and see the outcome of that.
"He just felt something in his calf and he couldn't go on."
The subsequent loss of composure in defence, however, could not be blamed on the loss of Del Piero, according to Farina.
"No I don't think so, we've got a lot of experience there and that would be pretty sad if that was the case," he said.
"He's an important player for us, but we've seen many other teams that... it's just we were beaten by a very good side tonight."
Meanwhile, Brisbane captain Matt Smith hailed the triumphant return of fan favourite Matt McKay, who was instrumental in his first game back at Suncorp Stadium.
"(It's) fantastic. He's a Brisbane boy, he's a Queensland lad," he said.
"He's a legend of this club so I for one am very pleased that he's decided to come home.
"And it just goes to show tonight that composure on the ball, I think that really settled us down tonight.
"There are still things we need to work on, but just having that coolness in there, and his experience is definitely going to give us some good strength."
Despite their demolition of Sydney, Roar fans were made to hold their breath when star striker Besart Berisha was forced off the field with a hamstring injury, though coach Mike Mulvey believes the injury is relatively minor.
"I've just spoken to him now, he's disappointed," Mulvey told reporters.
"He's a proud man and he was very disappointed to come off.
"He's had a fantastic pre-season, he's in probably the best shape of his life and I think that's going to play a really big part in his recovery, which we expect to be no more than one week."