After sparking Melbourne Victory’s thrilling Melbourne Derby comeback win, Besart Berisha said he owed his team-mates a goal against City on Saturday night after his earlier penalty miss.
Berisha scored an 84th-minute equaliser for the hosts at Etihad Stadium before Manny Muscat’s own goal three minutes later handed Victory a pulsating 2-1 win.
But the Albanian looked like he was going to be the villain after he missed a penalty just after the hour mark before City took the lead.
Speaking to Fox Sports after the win, Berisha said: “It means a lot to me.
“Sometimes football is very emotional. I take it very serious this game and after I missed the penalty it was not easy because I always want to bring my team in front and try to win this game for these beautiful supporters.
“I was so happy that I scored the goal and I could bring the team back.”
“It’s not easy. Every time you miss a penalty you know what can happen. Then the opposition they come and tell you things and it’s not easy.
“I’m strong and sometimes I prove people wrong and today again and I’m really happy. I stayed strong and scored the goal for my team because I know I have to be there for my team.”
While the first half was frantic and tense but without too much goal-mouth action, the second half was what derbies are all about.
As well as the goals and flowing football, there was incredible drama with City substitute Tim Cahill sent off before coming onto the pitch, while the winning goal had a hint of controversy about it.
“You know that feeling when you come off a roller coaster and your stomach is all queasy? That’s how I feel at the moment,” said Victory boss Kevin Muscat at full-time.
“We certainly made it hard work for ourselves.
“It was end to end and very tight in the first half but all the goal-scoring chances and the action in the area and the box was down our end so I always felt the goal was coming.”
The win sees Victory close the gap on league-leaders Sydney FC to nine points with nine games to go.
Victory is back in action next Saturday night as they head to the Hunter to take on the Newcastle Jets.