Stats review: Berisha breaks own record after feasting on Reds

The legend of Besart Berisha continued to grow on Saturday afternoon after he broke one of his own impressive Hyundai A-League goalscoring records just one week after setting it.

In Round 21, Berisha notched his 19th and 20th goals against Central Coast Mariners in Western United FC's 6-2 win over the league's bottom side. No player in Hyundai A-League history had scored more against any club until Saturday afternoon – when Berisha went one better against Adelaide United.

The Hyundai A-League's all-time top goalscorer netted a brace for the second weekend in a row as his side romped to another huge win, beating the Reds 5-1 in a clinical display at Coopers Stadium.


READ: Rudan dedicates United win to new dad Kurto following head injury
MATCH REPORT: Adelaide United v Western United FC
Risdon delighted with United's top six revival

Berisha went into the contest on 19 goals against the Reds, with strikes coming from his past spells at Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory to go with his brace scored in Round 16 of the 2019/20 campaign, his first contest against Adelaide in the Green and Black.

On Saturday afternoon, the 34-year-old marksman took that tally to 21 with yet another double, scoring the first and last goals of United's 5-1 win over the Reds.

Remarkably, Berisha now holds the top two slots in the all-time record of goals against an individual club, with his previous record of 20 against the Mariners which he clocked in Round 21 being eclipsed by his most recent performance in the City of Churches.

Besart Berisha
Besart Berisha can't stop scoring against the Reds

Free-scoring United suddenly in contention

Western United's 5-1 win against Adelaide helped Mark Rudan's side storm back into the top six at the expense of the Reds. 

A two-game losing streak leading into Round 21 has United out of the top six and drifting into lower-table obscurity, but a 6-2 win over the Mariners coupled with their similarly dominant showing against the Reds have hurled them right back into contention.

The last Hyundai A-League side to score five or more goals in back-to-back games was Melbourne City in the 2015/16 campaign. The two results set them on a four-game winning streak, and they added 4-0 victory the following round, on their way to cementing their spot in the Finals Series by finishing fourth on the table.

Rudan will be hoping United can continue to pick up results in the same way City did in the 2015/16 campaign as they will undoubtedly need to stave off attacks from Adelaide and Western Sydney Wanderers in seventh and eighth if they are to hold their position in the top six.

READ: Hyundai A-League Team of the Week - Round 22
HOW TO WATCH: All the action of Round 23 

Highlights: Adelaide United 1-5 Western United

Victory failing to capitalise on winning positions

Melbourne Victory went 1-0 up against Sydney FC in the Big Blue on Saturday night – then proceeded to ship four goals to lose in a procession.

It has been an unwanted characteristic of Victory's season, as they've dropped a league-high of 17 points from winning positions.

Victory currently sit in 9th position on 20 points. They haven't dropped this many points after taking the lead in games since the 2011/12 campaign where they let 24 points slip throughout the season. They finished eighth in that particular campaign, third from bottom, and look set to do the same – if not worse – this time around if results do not pick up soon.

Carlos Salvachua's side will be desperate to pick up points from their next three fixtures, but with trips to face Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory bookending a home fixture against Brisbane Roar in Round 24, they will need to capitalise on any lead they can fashion against three of the league's top six sides.

Highlights: Melbourne Victory 1-4 Sydney FC

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Mariners closing in on ten-game losing streak

On March 10, 2019, Mike Mulvey was sacked as Central Coast Mariners coach and replaced by current Mariners boss Alen Stajcic.

One year on from the managerial change the Mariners are staring down the barrel of a nine-game losing streak if they fail to gain points against Brisbane Roar on Friday night. 

Mulvey's Mariners slumped to a 10-game losing streak between Rounds 3 and 13 last season – his sacking coming off the back of an 8-2 loss at home to Wellington two months later.

Stajcic's Mariners have two games to turn it around if they wish to avoid equalling the 10-game losing streak overseen by Mulvey last season, but they have not beaten their Round 23 opponents Brisbane in 17 games, a run stretching back to 2014.

Following their match-up with Brisbane, the Mariners will return home for a Round 24 clash with second-placed Melbourne City, who handed Stajcic's side a 3-1 defeat at AAMI Park in Round 5 earlier in the season.

Highlights: Central Coast Mariners 1-3 Wellington Phoenix

Castro not so secure in possession for Perth

Diego Castro is Perth Glory's lock-picker, their prime creator and remarkable magician, but this season he's also been their ultimate possession waster.  

Castro lost the ball 25 times in Glory's 3-2 loss against Melbourne City at HBF Park in Round 22. He's lost the ball at least 25 times on three occasions this season and has a season total of 325, the most of any player in Tony Popovic's squad.

The reasons for these statistics are clear: Neil Kilkenny, Jake Brimmer, Juande and co. rotate through the two deeper-lying midfield positions in Popovic's Glory formation. They win the ball, take care of it and feed it to Castro who then tries to create chances with neat dribbling runs and incisive passes behind opposing defences. 

Glory's leading creator will be hoping to have a greater impact on his side's scoring output as they gun for a spot in the top two by this season's end.

After handing City outright ownership of second place at the weekend, Perth have fixtures against Sydney FC, Western United and Melbourne Victory next on the agenda as they look to quickly bounce back to winning ways and put an end to their run of back-to-back losses.

TALKING POINTS: City forge new mentality in Perth heat - but can they build on landmark result?
READ: Perth comeback falls short after 10-minute blitz from City

Diego Castro
Lachlan Wales gets a strong tackle in on Castro in City's 3-2 win over Perth