Melbourne wears the crown of the world's most livable city but to the Wellington Phoenix the place is nothing short of a graveyard.
They've now tried their luck a dozen times in the Victorian capital and are yet to record a win.
Even when the Victory are a rabble (last season) or in last place (tonight) the Phoenix are Melbourne's bunnies.
In theory, the 3-2 loss at Etihad Stadium was a great opportunity.
With super-coach Ange Postecoglou still bedding in his pass, pass and pass some more philosophy, the Victory are defensively vulnerable.
But to test a defence you have to first get the ball and the Phoenix didn't have much of it.
Instead they were chasing shadows as former Phoenix star Marco Rojas celebrated his 21st birthday with two goals and Argentine Marcos Flores awoke from his slumber to score an early contender for goal of the season.
You expected the Phoenix to be fired up in the wake of the ''Jeronimo-gate'' diving controversy.
But instead they were timid and lethargic as the league's previously sleeping giants toyed with their prey.
Rojas opened the scoring in the 23rd minute.
Brazilian Gui Finkler, who also had a superb match, picked out Archie Thompson's run wide on the right and the Socceroo connected with Rojas for the easiest of finishes.
Rojas and Thompson are shaping as the league's premier one-two punch and their pace and movement again mesmerised the Phoenix as they produced a carbon copy goal just after halftime.
In between was some South American magic as Finkler and Flores played a private game of one-two inside the Phoenix box before Flores decided to end the misery with the outside of his boot.
But the Victory clocked off early for the night, as Jeremy Brockie opened his account with two late goals.
The first was a wonderful left-footed strike and the second came from a free kick as Victory goalkeeper Nathan Coe stopped the ball's progress on the wrong side of the chalk.
But it was too little too late.
After winning their season opener, the Phoenix have since drawn two and lost two to sit in eighth place - seven points behind pacesetters Adelaide United.
Things don't get any easier either. The Phoenix now return home to host red-hot Central Coast on Sunday.
The Mariners humiliated Sydney FC in a 7-2 win on Saturday.
Postecoglou's Victory, meanwhile, have catapulted into the top-six and put the entire league on notice.
And Rojas will be able to continue his birthday celebrations at tomorrow's Melbourne Cup.
- Fairfax Media
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