Best of the Pressers: 'The most emotional game of my career’ - Which Melbourne club takes ‘Berisha Derby'?

Besart Berisha never thought the day would come where he would be scoring goals at Marvel Stadium against Melbourne Victory.

When he walks out in the Green and Black of Western United on Saturday night, the Hyundai A-League's all-time leading goalscorer says his striking instinct will override any fond feelings he has for his former club.

Berisha has two goals in his first three games for United and will be determined to continue that trend to ensure Victory do not overtake his side in the Hyundai A-League table.

It will be a first visit to Marvel Stadium for Western United on Saturday at 7:30pm AEDT but, for Berisha, it’s a special return to an old stomping ground. Berisha played four seasons for Victory, winning two Championships along the way.

“It’s going to be very emotional for me this game,” Berisha told reporters at a media conference with Victory’s Ola Toivonen yesterday.

“[It is] probably the most emotional of my career so far but I have a job to do and the way I go about this game is I want to win every game.


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“I love playing in Australia, I’m enjoying every day at Western United.”

“It’s a great challenge for me and I’m going to try everything to help this club and it starts again this Sunday.”

Berisha will lead United’s frontline into battle against a Melbourne Victory side spearheaded by captain Ola Toivonen, who says his side cannot use their recent plague of injuries as an excuse for getting anything less than three points out of the blockbuster clash.

Star attacking duo Robbie Kruse and Andrew Nabbout are both ruled out of the derby, joining key defender Tim Hoogland on the sidelines.

“We are struggling a little bit when it comes to injuries,” Toivonen said.

“But it’s good for the younger boys; it’s time for the younger boys to step up.

“As long as we can grab the points until we get all these [injured players] back, the better it is.” 

Marco Kurz Mark Rudan

Who will be the Pride of Melbourne?

Following Western United’s clash with Melbourne Victory on Saturday night, all three Victorian sides will have played each other once in the 2019/20 Hyundai A-League season.

Melbourne City have fared best so far, taking four points from their Victoria derbies. On Saturday, Victory are searching for their first win over state opponents this season while Western United are aiming to beat a Melbourne club for the first time.

Before Round 4 kicks off, here’s how all three Melbourne sides fare after the first three rounds of play:

 TEAM

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

PTS

Melbourne City FC

2

1

1

0

2

1

1

4

Melbourne Victory

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

Western United FC

1

0

0

1

1

2

-1

0


If Victory can win by two goals or more they will bump Melbourne City off top spot with a superior goal difference, while their opponents Western United will be hoping to get their first points on the board for the season against a local rival.

 

Corica anticipates electric Leichhardt atmosphere under Friday night lights 

The atmosphere at Sydney FC’s home games at Leichhardt Oval has taken on a life of its own.

The festival vibe created at the suburban ground is a sight to behold, and Sydney boss Steve Corica can only see it getting better when his side host Newcastle under lights at Leichhardt Oval tonight.

“The Cove, the members and all the supporters that turned up against Wellington (in Round 2), it was an amazing atmosphere,” Corica said.


“It’s great to see the support on the hill as well.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for them to turn out, see the boys play and put on a good performance.

“We want as many people out there as possible supporting our boys.”

Sydney FC vs. Newcastle Jets gets underway at Leichhardt Oval tonight at 7:30pm AEDT.

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Popovic backs Fornaroli to ramp up return to vintage form

Bruno Fornaroli playing in his pomp is a sight to behold.

After his classy goal and assist against Wellington Phoenix in Perth Glory’s first win of the season last weekend, Tony Popovic has backed Fornaroli to continue to raise his level as he slowly returns to his best after a lengthy stint on the sidelines.

“We’re delighted [Fornaroli] scored, I think it’s been such a long time, he hasn’t played football for nearly 18 months or so,” Popovic said.

“We could see he was enjoying his football in the first couple of rounds, scoring obviously is great for his confidence.

“For him to score and set up the second goal, also have another couple of opportunities, shows he’s constantly improving.

“He’s getting fitter and stronger and you can see he’s enjoying his football.

“He’s certainly got a long way to go in terms of being where we believe he can get to but he’s certainly at a very good level at the moment.”

 


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Lopar: Wanderers riding wave of self-belief heading into Roar clash

Western Sydney Wanderers keeper Daniel Lopar has enjoyed a superb start to life in the Hyundai A-League.

His form between the sticks for Markus Babbel’s side is contributing to a much-improved and resolute defence which kept a clean sheet under immense pressure in the Sydney Derby last weekend.

Lopar says he can feel a confidence around the club as the Wanderers come into their Round 4 clash with Brisbane on three wins from three games, but he’s determined to stay focused and keep the momentum going.

“It’s a good feeling of course, but we have to continue and keep working because football changes very quickly,” Lopar said.

“For the moment it is very nice but we have to continue.

“You can feel it in the changing room and on the pitch as well.

“Of course, a lot of things have to improve [but it] all starts with good confidence.”

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