Football 2 years ago

Berisha and Victory dominate Phoenix

  • Berisha and Victory dominate Phoenix

Melbourne Victory have brutally dismantled Wellington Phoenix in a 3-0 A-League win powered by Besart Berisha.

Berisha scored either side of a Kosta Barbarouses goal to ensure the champions keep in touch with early A-League pacesetters Sydney FC.

On a day when broadcast rights were in the headlines, both sides did their best to up the value of the A-League's next deal.

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This was a breathless encounter from first to last, even though the contest was settled when Berisha scored his second on the hour mark.

Victory attacked with purpose and in numbers, and could have had a hatful by halftime.

Wellington were welcome contributors at Etihad Stadium, where both sets of fans unveiled "Save the Nix" banners before kick-off in reference to the franchise's doubtful future in the A-League.

But only one side took their opportunities - and no individual does that better than Berisha.

Victory's first goal came in the 10th minute, finished by the Albanian but initiated deep in their defence.

Fine work on the touchline from Kosta Barbarouses pushed Victory into attack, with Oliver Bozanic cleaning up a lost ball to keep the momentum going.

Bozanic, who was a powerhouse in Victory's midfield, found Gui Finkler who drew the defence neatly to give Berisha enough space to net.

Berisha showed every side of his personality as Victory moved up the table to fourth with the win.

First there was Besart the brawler, fighting with his marker at an innocuous stoppage and needing to be calmed by both teammate Fahid Ben Khalfallah and referee Shaun Evans.

The combustible 30-year-old's eagerness was Tom Doyle's pain shortly after, catching the defender with a boot to the face as he attempted an audacious overhead kick.

But most of all, he was Berisha the finisher, as he showed with his second.

Released into Wellington's half without a defender between him and Moss, Berisha rounded the gloveman and stumbled as he turned.

Without stopping to appeal for a penalty, the Albanian swung his foot while lying on the ground to score again.

He was denied a hat-trick by Barbarouses just a few minutes later, when the New Zealand international chose to shoot rather than cross with Berisha standing in front of an empty net.

Barbarouses played his part earlier in the night, scoring with a cross deflected in by Phoenix captain Andrew Durante at his near post.

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