Besart Berisha’s hat-trick has helped Melbourne Victory record a convincing 5-2 win against Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park on Sunday evening.

Berisha punished Central Coast’s sloppy defending with emphatic finishes while Leroy George and Christian Theoharous exerted more authority to the scoreline. Victory’s huge win means they go ahead of their rivals Melbourne City into third place on the ladder.

Connor Pain found some late consolation with a brace against his former club but the damage had already been done.

Embed from Getty Images

Victory opened the scoring after 15 minutes through George who raided down the left-hand side and beat Ben Kennedy on his near post with pure power.

10 minutes later Berisha opened his account for the day as he made a well-time run to expose a leaky Mariners defensive line, he coolly finished to double Victory’s lead.

Victory looked ominous and carried their form into after the break. They made it three after 54 minutes with Berisha grabbing his second.

James Troisi could’ve had a shot himself but instead stopped to lay it off for Berisha who found the top left with finesse.

His hat-trick was completed in the 74th minute when substitute Terry Antonis floated a ball towards an unmarked Berisha on the far post who had an easy header.

Theoharous also made an impact off the bench to score Victory’s fifth with an unstoppable hit despite a little bobble of the ball.

Embed from Getty Images

Victory did lose their clean sheet as Pain managed to get a brace after Victory failed to clear a Trent Buhagiar cross and a half-volley that whistled through the air.

Melbourne Victory 5 (George 15′, Berisha 25′ 54′ 74′, Theoharous 83′)
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Pain 87′ 90+7′)

AAMI Park

Referee: Jarred GILLETT
Assistant Referees: George LAKRINDIS & Daniel ILIEVSKI
Fourth Offical: Kate JACEWICZ

Melbourne Victory
4. WILLIAMS Rhys, 6. BROXHAM Leigh, 8. BERISHA Besart, 9. BARBAROUSES Kosta, 10. TROISI James (24. ANTONIS Terry 72′), 14. DENG Thomas (22. NIGRO Stefan 61′), 17. DONACHIE James, 18. SANCHEZ Matias (31. THEOHAROUS Christian 79′), 20. THOMAS Lawrence (GK), 21. VALERI Carl (C), 41. GEORGE Leroy.
Substitutes: 1. ACTON Matt (GK), 7. ATHIU Kenjok.

Central Coast Mariners
1. KENNEDY Ben (GK), 2. ROUX Storm, 4. MCGING Jake, 5. GOLEC Antony (21. ROWLES Kye 41′), 7. HOOLE Andrew, 8. POWELL Blake (12. BUHAGIAR Trent 78′), 10. DE SILVA Daniel, 11. PAIN Connor, 16. ROSE Liam, 19. POSCOLIERO Jacob (22. MELLING Jacob 78′), 23. BRAMA Wout (C).
Substitutes: 18. GLOVER Thomas (GK), 27. SKAPETIS Petros.

SHARE
Liam Watson is covering Melbourne Victory this season while completing Media and Communications at La Trobe University.