Melbourne Victory have skipped three points clear at the top of the National Youth League table after thrashing Adelaide United 6-0.
Melbourne Victory have skipped three points clear at the top of the National Youth League table after thrashing Adelaide United 6-0 courtesy of a hat-trick to midfielder Chris Cristaldo at Frank Mitchell Park on Saturday.
Cristaldo's clever movement and positioning was a handful for a sloppy Adelaide who regularly lost possession and turned the ball over, while Andrew Nabbout was equally impressive with a stunning four assists.
The diminutive attacker opened the scoring in the 13th minute before John Buceto doubled the visitors' tally three minutes later.
Cristaldo added a third just prior to half-time and completed his hat-trick in the 52nd minute before substitute Theo Markelis put an end to the hosts' nightmare with a late brace.
Victory's fifth consecutive win gives them a three-point buffer at the top of the table over second-placed Central Coast who were earlier upset 3-1 by Perth Glory.
Eager to avenge the 3-3 draw to Sydney FC last week where they let a three-goal lead slip, the Baby Reds wasted no time in signalling their intention with skipper Liam Wooding testing Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas in the second minute.
But they struggled to hold onto the ball and the regular turnovers eventually proved United's undoing on 13 minutes when the visitors took the lead courtesy of Cristaldo.
Victory full-back Dylan Murnane threaded a well-measured ball down the line which found Nabbout in behind the hosts' defence.
The striker drove in and tempted Izzo to rush out before squaring to Cristaldo to tap into an empty net.
Another turnover after an untidy passage of play led to Melbourne doubling their advantage through Buceto in the 16th minute.
Adelaide attempted to play out from the back but were trapped by Melbourne's forward pressure as Buceto was released into the box to finish comfortably past Izzo.
Nabbout's senior experience was telling against United's young back four as the 20-year-old turned provider once more.
The power forward treaded the hosts' area before picking out Cristaldo, who cut in and fired in his second on 39 minutes.
The impressive Cristaldo claimed his hat-trick shortly after the break when he prodded in from six yards once again after Nabbout had raced down the left wing and crossed to the feet of the 18-year-old.
Markelis capped off the rout for the league's highest-scoring team with a double strike in the final minutes before Victory defender Sam Gallagher was sent off with the final whistle looming after a second bookable offence for dissent.
Adelaide United 0 Melbourne Victory 6 (Cristaldo 13, 39, 52, Buceto 16, Markelis 79, 87)
Adelaide United: 20. Paul Izzo (gk) (1. John Hall (gk) 61), 2. Jordan Elsey, 4. Dylan Pickert, 5. Scott Nagel (4. Dylan Pickert 59), 6. Jake Monaco (9. John Karatzas 45), 7. Liam Wooding (c), 8. Thomas Briscoe, 10. Dion Kirk, 12. Jake Barker-Daish (15. Nathan Konstandopoulos 59), 13. Daniel Pritchard, 14. Awer Mabil
Melbourne Victory: 1. Lawrence Thomas (gk) (20. Phillip Petrovski (gk) 59), 2. Matthew Foschini, 3. Jason Geria, 4. Sam Gallagher, 5. Dylan Murnane, 6. Kwabena Boahene (12. Luc Jeggo 59), 7. Christopher Cristaldo (13. Theodore Markelis 59), 8. James Jeggo, 9. Luke O'Dea (14. Jesse Makarounas 59), 11. John Buceto, 15. Andrew Nabbout