Melbourne Victory win A-League title, beat Sydney FC 3-0
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Albanian striker Besart Berisha added to his team-leading goal total in the biggest match of the season, helping the Melbourne Victory to a 3-0 win over Sydney FC in the A-League grand final Sunday.
Berisha came into the match with 14 goals. He notched his 15th in the 33rd minute when he gained possession in the box and fired home the opening goal. Kosta Barbarouses and Leigh Broxham added clinching goals in the final seven minutes.
It was an eventful first half for Berisha, who was also shown a yellow card for contact with Sydney’s Matthew Jurman.
It was the third A-League title for the Victory, equaling the Brisbane Roar’s total since the A-League took over the National Soccer League in 2006. Sydney FC has two A-League titles.
Victory captain Mark Milligan was awarded the Joe Marston medal as the most valuable player in the final.
Kevin Muscat, who celebrated wildly after Broxham’s goal, became the first man to captain and coach a team to an A-League championship — in his first full season as coach.
“They dominated the game, and suffocated them when they had the ball and forced them into so many errors,” Muscat said of his side. “I asked them to go one better tonight ... it was fitting we got reward for our season.”
There was a bit of drama during the trophy presentations when Football Federation Australian chairman Frank Lowy fell off the platform. The 84-year-old Lowy stumbled as he went to present Muscat with the championship trophy.
Officials rushed to help Lowy, but he got to his feet and left the field unassisted.
“Lowy received treatment from paramedics on the scene and was cleared of any serious injury,” an FFA spokesperson said.
The match was attended by just under the capacity of 30,000 in a stadium that league officials wanted to be larger. But a nearby 53,000-seat stadium was already booked for an Australian Rules match, and Australian Football League officials refused to move the match to another venue.