Football 3 years ago

Berisha a familiar foe for City's Sorensen

  • Berisha a familiar foe for City's Sorensen

Thomas Sorensen isn't familiar with many strikers in the A-League, but Melbourne City's new goalkeeper knows all about Besart Berisha.

The former Danish international squared off against Berisha in 2009 for a European World Cup qualifier, when the Albanian forward was nearing the end of his international career.

Though Sorensen kept a clean sheet in Denmark's 3-0 win, he remembers vividly the frightening intensity and superb skill.

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And the 39-year-old knows he'll need to be on the ball if coach John Van `t Schip hands him another start for Saturday's first Melbourne derby of the season at Etihad Stadium.

While Berisha was uncharacteristically quiet in Victory's round-one goalless draw with Adelaide, the potent Albanian marksman remains one of the most feared players in the competition thanks to an average of around a goal every other game last season.

"I played against Berisha when he played for Albania quite a few years back," Sorensen said.

"He's a goalscorer, he's a clever player. He's proven that down here as well.

"He's someone you've always got to be aware of in and around the box because he'll pop up, similar to (Shane) Smeltz.

"They're clever; don't give them any chances or they'll score.

"That's something we've got to be aware of."

Before his A-League debut against Sydney FC on Saturday, the ex-Stoke City keeper hadn't played an official match in 18 months.

A few shaky moments aside he put out a sharp performance in the 1-1 draw, making a spectacular save to deny Rhyan Grant 13 minutes from time and another from George Blackwood at the death.

With 17 years in the English Premier League Sorensen has a few big-time derbies under his belt, naming the North East derby between former side Sunderland and Newcastle United as the most intense.

"But it's the same here - it means a lot to everyone and to the clubs, to the fans and for us as well," he said.

"It's bragging rights, and they're very important.

"Everyone from here knows the importance of it and hopefully in the build-up I can use my time in England (to prepare)."

City could be boosted by the presence of a few of the first-team regulars and new signings who were absent from the game with Sydney, including well-rested Socceroo Aaron Mooy.

Defender Michael Zullo could also be fit enough start, while David Williams and Jacob Melling may have overcome their injuries enough for a bench inclusion.

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