A hat-trick to Besart Berisha has seen Melbourne Victory heap more misery on a 10-man Wellington Phoenix after cruising to a 6-1 win at Etihad Stadium on Monday night to end Round 4 in the Hyundai A-League top three.
Berisha notched his 50th goal in Victory colours as he scored twice in two minutes – both from the penalty spot – midway through the first half.
Wellington were the architects of their own downfall as fouls by Roly Bonevacia and Dylan Fox enabled Berisha to have the hosts in front 2-0 at the break.
Despite having defender Dylan Fox sent off with half an hour to play, Phoenix pulled a goal back soon after via a penalty of their own, scored by Roy Krishna.
But former Phoenix flyer Marco Rojas ensured there would be no comeback, scoring twice – as well as setting up Berisha’s third and another for Mitch Austin - in the last 20 minutes to ensure a big win for the hosts in front of more than 20,000 fans.
While Victory has moved up to third after back-to-back wins, Wellington remains rooted to the foot of the ladder without a point from the opening four rounds.
Kevin Muscat’s side next heads up to Sydney on Saturday night to face the league-leading Sky Blues while Phoenix is at home to Newcastle Jets.
1-0 Victory: Besart Berisha 20’
After Daniel Georgievski won a penalty after he was brought down by Roly Bonevacia, Berisha took responsibility from the spot and made no mistake, sweeping the ball into the top corner to keeper Glen Moss’ right.
2-0 Victory: Besart Berisha 22’
Barely two minutes after the first penalty Victory had a second as Dylan Fox hauled down Berisha. And the Albanian sent Moss the wrong way, stroking the ball into the same corner.
2-1 Phoenix: Roy Krishna 63’
Victory defender Alan Baro mistimed a tackle on Krishna, earning the visitors a penalty of their own. And the Fijian picked himself up and slotted it into the bottom corner for Wellington’s first goal of the season.
3-1 Victory: Marco Rojas 71’
A ball over the top by Rashid Mahazi sent Berisha clear, only for the Albanian to be disposessed by Adam Parkhouse on the edge of the box. But Rojas swooped on the loose ball, driving into the box and finishing clinically past a stranded Moss.
4-1 Victory: Marco Rojas 77’
James Troisi’s lofted pass caused confusion at the back as Jacob Tratt’s interception dropped into the path of Rojas who had the simple task of side-footing into an open goal from just outside the box.
5-1 Victory: Besart Berisha 82’
Rojas sprung the offside trap to race clear down the right before squaring a pass for Berisha to smash it in from close range for his hat-trick.
6-1 Victory: Mitch Austin 90+2’
A swift counter attack from Victory ended with Rojas feeding Austin, who produced a smart finish into the far bottom corner.
Dylan Fox 59’
The Wellington defender picked up a yellow in giving away a penalty in the first half and then copped a second one for another foul on Berisha as the Albanian threatened to break free just inside Phoenix’s half.
20,113 @ Etihad Stadium
*Wellington Phoenix has now managed just one win in their last 15 Hyundai A-League games against Victory.
* Victory striker Besart Berisha has now scored six times in his last four Hyundai A-League appearances against Wellington Phoenix.
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