Diamanti injured as Berisha’s double ensures United sink the Mariners
Besart Berisha scored a first-half double but Alessandro Diamanti limped off injured as Western United FC eased to a 3-0 win over Central Coast Mariners on Sunday.
Berisha was at his predatory best as United turned on the style early on, scoring all three goals inside the first 21 minutes of the match.
The Hyundai A-League’s greatest-ever scorer’s double came either side of a Josh Risdon strike, which may go down as a Kye Rowles own goal after the ball deflected in off the defender.
Berisha’s goals took his tally to 124 in the Hyundai A-League, taking him level with Francis Awaritefe into sixth on the all-time Australian National League scorers list.
The Mariners, who were aiming to register back-to-back wins for the first time in almost two years, showed more resolve and endeavour after the break but were unable to find a way back into the contest.
After back-to-back defeats, United responded in emphatic fashion to leapfrog Adelaide United into fifth spot on the ladder.
And it could have been an even bigger win for Mark Rudan’s side who had a Connor Pain goal ruled out for a marginal offside call, while the returning Panagiotis Kone hit the crossbar after the break.
But there was a downside to their afternoon’s work with their inspirational skipper Diamanti forced off after 30 minutes with a foot injury.
The Italian legend needed a crutch to get around afterwards and United will be sweating on scans this week over the extent of the injury.
For the Mariners, it’s a costly defeat as they were looking to close within one point of the top six but they remain in 10th spot and five points adrift of the finals places.
Berisha plants a superb header
Dream start for the home side as their talisman heads them in front inside six minutes.
Skipper Alessandro Diamanti was the architect, floating a delicious ball into the box allowing Berisha to get in front of his defender and loop his header into the corner of the net.
Risdon doubles United’s lead
Connor Pain made in roads down the left and got to the byline before cutting the ball back into the middle.
The cross evaded a handful of players, making it’s way to Risdon at the far post and his powerful low drive is deflected in off defender Kye Rowles.
Berisha at the double as United grab a third
Things got even better for the home side on 21 minutes as the Mariners were again undone on their right side.
Max Burgess was the provider this time, weaving his way past some static defence before crossing for Berisha to sweep home, again off the unlucky Rowles.
Murray goes for the spectacular
The Mariners almost found a route back into the contest in first-half stoppage-time…and it would have been a contender for goal of the season.
Tommy Oar’s cross made it’s way to Murray at the back post and the striker went for an acrobatic overhead kick which he caught sweetly but flew wide of the goal.
Kone almost makes it four
Things could have got even better for the hosts early in the second half as the impressive Max Burgess almost had another assist.
The young playmaker centred – at the second attempt – to Kone whose shot with the outside of his right boot clanged onto the crossbar.
Western United FC v Adelaide United
Sunday, 26 January 2020
Kick off: 6pm AEDT
Central Coast Mariners v Brisbane Roar
Saturday, 25 January 2020
Central Coast Stadium
Kick off: 5pm AEDT