Berisha the hero as Victory win Melbourne Derby

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Besart Berisha scored a contentious second half match winner to help Melbourne Victory to a 2-1 win over Melbourne City in a heated battle in front of 24,706 fans at AAMI Park.

With seven goals in their past two meetings, Saturday night’s Melbourne Derby was poised to be a high scoring affair and it did not disappoint.

In their last two meetings City had prevailed 2-0 and 4-1 but this clash had a different victor thanks to outstanding performances from Marco Rojas and Besart Berisha.

The early stages of the match were quite scrappy with both sides failing to hit easy targets.

Besart Berisha had a golden opportunity to give Victory the early lead in the sixth minute, but he squandered a one-on-one battle with City ‘keeper Dean Bouzanis.

Melbourne Derbies are not merely another A-League fixture, they are fierce and this was emphasised in the 15th minute when Victory coach Kevin Muscat was given a stern talking to by referee Jarred Gillett, after showing a bit too much passion from the sidelines.

City were first to hit the scoreboard as Tim Cahill netted himself another Melbourne Derby goal. He relishes big moments and this was no exception as he headed home a Luke Brattan cross in the 16th minute to put City 1-0 up.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Victory equalised through Rojas in the 24th minute. A Carl Valeri cross was temporarily cleared by Ruon Tongyik, but James Troisi quickly nodded on to Rojas who easily beat Bouzanis.

Moments later Berisha had his second one-on-one with Bouzanis but again the Victory striker failed to capitalise.

Rojas had a good chance to assist Troisi in the 34th minute but the Victory number seven ignored him and his unnecessary step-overs resulted in an eventual shot being easily saved.

Prior to kickoff it was evident City’s defence was sure to be tested, with Michael Jakobsen missing the rivalry clash with calf soreness. 19 year-old Tongyik had to stand up and fill Jakobsen’s void and he played a gallant role in the home side’s loss.

Victory ‘keeper Lawrence Thomas saved a miraculous solo effort from Bruno Fornaroli in the dying stages of the first half. The City captain made a mockery of a couple of Victory defenders but his volley from outside the box was directed straight into Thomas’ gloves.

Victory were unlucky not to lead at half time as the two teams entered the break deadlocked at 1-1.

City began the second half in ferocious fashion.

 Fornaroli almost gave City the lead in the 51st minute but his volley from an Ivan Franjic pass sailed over the crossbar.

After Jason Geria and Fernando Brandan were involved in a heated scuffle in the 58th minute, both teams were momentarily inseparable as they attempted to resolve the argument with their aggression. Geria, Berisha, and Fornaroli were all booked in the process.

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Victory went ahead through Berisha who found the match winner in the 78th minute. Rojas played the ball across goal and Berisha did the rest, however replays showed the Victory striker may have been offside.

City were not dead and buried and a string of chances after the 90th minute forced Victory’s Thomas to be solid in front of goal.

But after four minutes of stoppage time Jarred Gillett’s whistle meant Victory had earned their first Melbourne Derby win of the 2016/17 season.

The deserved and hard-fought win sees Victory move into second and overtake City on the Hyundai A-League table.

Melbourne City 1 (Cahill 16’)
Melbourne Victory 2 (Rojas 24’, Berisha 78’)

Stadium: AAMI Park
Crowd: 24,706

Referee: Jarred Gillett
Assistant Referees: Nathan MacDonald and George Lakrindis
Fourth Official: Shaun Evans

Melbourne City: 20. BOUZANIS Dean (GK), 3. ROSE Joshua (2. MUSCAT Emmanuel 61’), 5. FRANJIC Ivan, 8. KILKENNY Neil, 9. COLAZO Nicolas, 11. KAMAU Bruce (12. FITZGERALD Nick 80’), 17. CAHILL Tim, 21. TONGYIK Ruon, 23. FORNAROLI Bruno (C), 26. BRATTAN Luke, 27. BRANDAN Fernando
Substitutes: 1. SORENSEN Thomas (GK), 2. MUSCAT Emmanuel, 10. CACERES Anthony, 12. FITZGERALD Nick, 18. RETRE Paulo

Melbourne Victory: 20. THOMAS Lawrence, 2. GERIA Jason, 6. BROXHAM Leigh, 7. ROJAS Marco (9. BEISTER Maximilian 85′), 8. BERISHA Besart, 10. TROISI James, 13. BOZANIC Oliver, 14. BEN KHALFALLAH Fahid (23. INGHAM Jai 66’), 15. BARO Alan, 17. DONACHIE James, 21. VALERI Carl (C)
Substitutes: 40. ACTON Matthew (GK), 4. ANSELL Nicholas, 5. GEORGIEVSKI Daniel, 9. BEISTER Maximilian, 23. INGHAM Jai

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Adrian Johnsonhttps://thefootballsack.com.au
A-Grade football fan, C-grade player

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