Hat-trick hero Berisha fires Victory to big win over Mariners
Besart Berisha struck a hat-trick as Melbourne Victory ran riot in a 5-2 win over Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park on Sunday.
With eight goals in his previous seven against the Mariners, Berisha found the perfect opponent to put a turbulent week behind him as he netted midway through the first half and added a further two in the second stanza.
Leroy George had earlier opened the scoring and Victory took command from there, leapfrogging rivals Melbourne City into third.
Christian Theoharous got in on the act with his first Hyundai A-League goal, before Connor Pain snatched a pair of late consolations on a difficult day for Central Coast that also saw Antony Golec sustain a suspected fractured tibia.
STORY OF THE GAME
- CHANCE: Lawrence Thomas and Rhys Williams combine to scramble Golec's close-range finish off the line.
- CHANCE: Ben Kennedy keeps out Leigh Broxham's tame attempt after a deflected cross looped kindly to the back post.
- GOAL! George shows how it's done as he gets in behind and laces in an emphatic opener.
- GOAL! Berisha punishes a scattered Central Coast defence to double the margin.
- INJURY: Golec's left knee collides with Thomas as he stretches to reach a free-kick and the defender is forced off on a stretcher.
- CHANCE: Jake McGing and Blake Powell both fail to make the most of successive headers.
- GOAL! Berisha all but puts the result to bed 10 minutes after half-time.
- SAVE: Kennedy reacts well to push Kosta Barbarouses' deflected effort around the upright.
- GOAL! Berisha makes it a treble with 15 minutes of normal time remaining.
- GOAL! Teenager Theoharous joins in on the fun with a well-taken first at Hyundai A-League level.
- GOAL! Pain finds time to add some kind of respectability to the score.
- GOAL! In the second minute of stoppage time, Pain secures a brace against his former club.
Leroy George, Melbourne Victory 15': 1-0
Released on the turn by Besart Berisha, George steams into the box and fires a thumping low finish inside the near post.
Besart Berisha, Melbourne Victory 25': 2-0
George returns the favour to Berisha, who runs unchecked the through the heart of defence before finishing coolly past Kennedy.
Besart Berisha, Melbourne Victory 54': 3-0
George weaves away from McGing before squaring to Troisi, who unselfishly lays the ball into Berisha's path for a simple finish.
Besart Berisha, Melbourne Victory 74': 4-0
Terry Antonis on the overlap dinks a cross to the back post that Berisha nods home.
Christian Theoharous, Melbourne Victroy 83': 5-0
Off the bench four minutes earlier, Theoharous brings Rhys Williams' raking pass under control and spears an unerring left-footed shot across Kennedy and into the bottom far corner.
Connor Pain, Central Coast Mariners 87': 5-1
Trent Buhagiar speeds to the byline before his cut-back is eventually buried by Pain.
Connor Pain, Central Coast Mariners 90'+7: 5-1
Pain drills a thunderous effort past Thomas after a corner breaks to him on the edge of the area.