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Berisha starring again for Victory

Besart Berisha has firmly established himself as one of the A-League’s best players during his time in Australia and the Melbourne Victory star has again been the league’s main man this season.

During his four-and-a-half years in the A-League, firstly with Brisbane Roar before making the move to Melbourne last year, Berisha has been one of if not the most influential players in the division.

Having played a major role in Brisbane winning two A-League Championships during his time in Queensland, the Albanian was an instant success in Melbourne. He helped the Victory to an A-League Premiership and Championship as well as winning the FFA Cup.

The forward scored the first and fourth goals in the Victory’s recent 4-2 win over Sydney FC to continue Melbourne’s encouraging start to the new season. While A-League defenders are well aware of the threat posed by Berisha, they still look no closer to figuring out a way to keep him quiet. The Sydney defence, in particular Jacques Faty, were pulled apart throughout the game by Melbourne’s in-form striker.

With the Victory now sitting in a strong position, it’s not a huge surprise at the time of writing to see Kevin Muscat’s side with odds as short as 15/8 with bet365 to defend their title this season.

Even more impressive than Berisha’s goalscoring and influence is the fact he produces his very best football on the biggest stages. The Albanian’s record in Grand Finals is remarkable, stepping up to the plate when his team needs him the most. The striker was the hero for Brisbane in 2011/12, scoring twice in 10 minutes in the final to help the Roar come back from going 1-0 down to beat Perth Glory.

Berisha followed that up in 2013/15 by scoring an 86th minute equaliser before Brisbane clinched the title in extra time. He ended his time in Queensland as a hero before changing his mind about a return to Europe and signing for Melbourne Victory in 2014.

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A firm fan favourite with the Brisbane supporters, Berisha is already well on his way to securing legendary status with the Victory. This is not only due to his goalscoring record but also his ability to provide chances for his team-mates.

While the 30-year-old has the selfish streak strikers need, his work-rate and intelligence open up chances for other players on the pitch. There are few forwards in the league who put in as much work at the other end of the field as Berisha.

With his international career still on hold, Melbourne know that every other team in Australia would move heaven and earth to sign Berisha if given the chance. Now joint top scorer in the league alongside Melbourne City’s Bruno Fornaroli, the Victory man could be set to finish as the A-League’s top scorer for the second time in his career.

If that happens, there is a very good chance Melbourne Victory will be there or thereabouts when it comes to reaching the Grand Final for a second year running.

Photo credit: W. Major

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avatarThis post was written by a Staff Writer for Ultimate A-League

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