Western United was defeated 3-0 by Wellington Phoenix at Sky Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Seb Pasquali made his first start of the season, slotting into midfield alongside Tomi Uskok and Alessandro Diamanti.
Besart Berisha returned to the line-up after coming off the bench last week and joined Lachie Wales up front.
The Phoenix started well in front of a roaring home crowd, dominating possession and territory.
Tomor Hemed went close to opening the scoring with a long-range effort but was denied by the strong outstretched right hand of Ryan Scott.
United struggled to find a way through the Wellington defence in the first half, failing to create any genuine opportunities.
The Nix broke the deadlock in the 38th minute when Clayton Lewis’ shot took a wild deflection, wrong-footing Scott and hitting the back of the net.
The Nix almost immediately doubled their lead when Hemed fired his header on goal but again was denied by Scott.
United had the first chance of the second half via a nice piece of interplay between Diamanti, Berisha and Pierias.
Diamanti played a chipped through-ball to Berisha who teed up Pierias before the wing-back’s shot was deflected out for a corner.
The Green and Black were punished for failing to take their chance as the Nix added a second goal moments later.
Rino Piscopo picked up the ball just outside the area before giving Scott little chance to save his strike.
It was 3-0 just after the hour mark when Hemed found himself open inside the six-yard box. The striker couldn’t miss with his header from point-blank range.
United had something to smile about when 19-year-old Adisu Bayew entered the game for his A-League debut.
Positive moments were few and far between however as the Victorians were comprehensively defeated at Sky Stadium.
What Mark Rudan said
"Clearly disappointing. Thought we started brightly with the first couple shots on goal.
"There was the deflection which brought the crowd back into it
"I tried to change things at half-time, I said that 'we need to go for this'. So we were a little bit more exposed and we paid the price for that unfortunately and we just couldn't get back into the game after that.
"We tried to hit them on the counter-attack, we know that they get their full-backs high - we tried to expose that.
"I didn't think they were very effective until they got that [first] goal, and as you know goals change games."
Western United will take on Melbourne Victory on Friday, 28 May at AAMI Park. Kick-off is 7:05pm.