Melbourne Victory has moved to the top of the Hyundai A-League after overcoming the weary Western Sydney Wanderers 3-0 at Pirtek Stadium on Friday night.
Besart Berisha finished with a brace with a goal in each half, either side of veteran Archie Thompson’s goal to ensure a comfortable night for the visitors.
Wanderers boss Tony Popovic made eight changes to his starting side from Wednesday night’s win over Melbourne City – including the inclusion of controversial striker Kerem Bulut.
But it mattered little as Victory finished all over the top of the home side to jump from fifth to first, only until Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix play on Saturday night.
WHAT THEY SAID
"It's always great to score but it's more important the team got the win. It's very tight at the top of the table and this was a crucial game for us tonight so I'm just happy to have the three points... I'm a striker and I love scoring goals so if I break records I just hope my team is successful." - Victory striker Besart Berisha
"When you're changing seven or eight players each game it's going to be difficult. The boys are working really hard, first-half we deserved a lot more and three break-away goals cost us today... To last 90 minutes, three games in five days - it's not easy." - Wanderers goalkeeper Ante Covic
0-1 Berisha (26’) – Fahid Ben Khalfallah turned Sam Gallaway inside out down the left, driving into the box before a cheeky clipped cross which found the head of Berisha, who made no mistake from close range.
0-2 Thompson (62’) – A classic counter attack saw Khalfallah in space down the left and he curled a superb pass with the outside of his right foot into the path of Thompson. The veteran attacker took one touch to steady himself before slotting it past Ante Covic.
0-3 Berisha (82’) – Khalfallah was involved again, showing great vision with another pinpoint ball over the defence which Berisha raced onto, getting to the ball just before Covic, knocking it past him from the edge of the box as the ball rolled into an empty net.
Barely a minute after Victory took their first-half lead, only a heroic double save from their ‘keeper Nathan Coe maintained their advantage. A deflected Wanderers shot landed at the feet of Yianni Perkatis just eight yards out and Coe showed great reflexes to bat away the midfielders snap strike. The loose ball rolled into the path of Kerem Bulut who let rip from a tight angle, with Coe doing well to get back up and race across and keeping it out with his right foot. It was a stunning double save from the Victory gloveman and went a long way towards a valuable three points.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC: Covic, Tanaka, La Rocca, Topor-Stanley, Gallaway, Trifiro (Ward 76’), Perkatis (Kuzmanovski 84’), Castelen, Kalmar (Haliti 70’), Sotirio, Bulut
Melbourne Victory: Coe, Galloway (Broxham 60’), Ansell, Delpierre, Georgievski, Valeri, Milligan, Finkler (Mahazi 82’), Thompson (Pain 86’), Berisha, Ben Khalfallah
Scorers: Berisha 26’, Thompson 62’, Berisha 82’
Red cards: none
Yellow cards: Trifiro 25’, Ansell 38’, Finkler 65’, Gallaway 90+2’
Conditions: 18C, Wet
Attendance: 11,073 @ Pirtek Stadium