Nani has taken centre stage in more ways than one as Melbourne Victory stylishly broke their A-League Men goal-scoring drought with a 4-0 win over Newcastle
Recruit Bruno Fornaroli was the centre of attention ahead of Friday night's match at AAMI Park.
But marquee Nani turned in his finest Victory performance, dazzling throughout and contentiously winning a penalty for Jake Brimmer to open the scoring in the 16th minute.
Victory, who had been goalless in three games, snatched the advantage when Nani took a slick touch then danced around James McGarry.
McGarry clipped the winger's shin and Nani took a couple of steps before dramatically falling down and grabbing his leg.
"I actually thought it was a penalty at the time," coach Tony Popovic told reporters.
"He did him with a good bit of skill ... he's looking a bit more dynamic, Luis, in the final third - which led to that penalty.
"First half, he did very well. He was moving the ball quick, he was moving well himself.
"He was very dynamic in the front third, some good crosses. He had a good shot as well, so we know his confidence is coming."
Popovic's Newcastle counterpart Arthur Papas lamented referee Ben Abraham's decision to award the penalty.
"It's very tough when you talk to the referee at halftime and he says, 'I'm not really sure if that was a penalty'. And he's actually had a chance to look at it," Papas told reporters.
"It changes the game a lot at that stage. It doesn't mean it should go on and be what it is.
"If there's contact or not, I'm not sure. But he's taken three steps after the contact: meaning he's on his feet still and he falls."
Chris Ikonomidis had a close-range effort chalked off for handball just before halftime but scored a lovely goal five minutes into the second period.
Four minutes later, Brimmer delivered a sumptuous ball with the outside of his right boot for Nick D'Agostino to lash home a first-time strike.
Fornaroli replaced D'Agostino in the 75th minute and 14 minutes later got his goal when a VAR referral caught out Newcastle's Mark Natta for a handball.
Ikonomidis was set to take the penalty but handed the ball to Fornaroli, who coolly slotted it and celebrated in front of his new fans.
When asked whether he had asked for Fornaroli to take the penalty, Popovic flashed a wry smile and quipped: "Maybe".
"I had my reasons for why I wanted Bruno to take it," he said.
"It just felt fitting at the end of the game, new player comes in, it's behind the goals where all the fans are and I was hoping he would score.
"That's him now, part of Victory. He's got his first goal and hopefully there'll be many more."