Jake Brimmer was the hero against his former club as Melbourne Victory completed a dramatic late turnaround to defeat Perth Glory 2-1 and kickstart their A-League season.
Victory looked set to pay for a wasteful performance in front of goal when Bruno Fornaroli headed home in the 62nd minute.
But Brimmer, who scuppered two earlier chances, snared two goals in five minutes – his first A-League goals – to snatch all three points.
“For Jake to score two goals against his old club, he’ll be really chuffed with that,” Victory coach Grant Brebner said.
“But I knew the type of player I was signing when I signed Jake.
“I know he’s a talented, talented footballer and he’s actually exceeded what I thought of him because he was excellent in the Champions League.
“I did have a chat with him – I felt he wasn’t particularly good against Adelaide – but he responded tonight and that’s what good players do.”
Victory had the better of the chances but in front of 7,018 fans were frequently denied by brilliant Glory goalkeeper Tando Velaphi, who replaced regular custodian Liam Reddy.
Victory almost broke the deadlock in the 19th minute when Marco Rojas fired a shot straight at Velaphi and should have scored three minutes later when Brandon Lauton dragged a shot wide off the back of a clever Robbie Kruse backheel.
Velaphi was again called into action in the 29th minute, denying a hard shot from Brimmer at his near post.
Two minutes later, Fornaroli’s first-time shot was well-denied by Victory custodian Maxime Crocombe.
Then in the 34th minute Kruse, who was everywhere in his first start since January 24, 2020, had a superb instinctive shot denied by Velaphi.
Brimmer missed another chance in the 55th minute when he got on the end of a brilliant Butterfield through-ball only to hit a tame shot straight at Velaphi.
Seven minutes later, Victory were made to rue their misses when an inexplicably unmarked Fornaroli headed home Carlo Armiento’s floating cross to the back post.
But with just four minutes remaining in regulation time, Victory hit back.
Adama Traore whipped a scintillating cross for Brimmer who rose highest to head home the equaliser.
Then, in the final minute of normal time, Perth youngster Joshua Rawlins handballed Brimmer’s corner kick and referee Shaun Evans pointed to the spot.
Brimmer made no mistake, drilling it past Velaphi to secure Victory’s first three points of the season.
“It’s always hard when you play three games in six days and there was a few tired bodies out there,” Perth coach Richard Garcia said.
“Then when you’re coming into the late stages and you’re bringing young boys off the bench that sometimes don’t have that experience, you cop goals.”