Berisha’s hat trick gives Victory win in A-League
SYDNEY (AP) — Albania striker Besart Berisha scored a hat trick to outshine Spanish star David Villa as the Melbourne Victory beat Melbourne City 5-2 in the third round of Australian football’s A-League.
The Victory twice came from behind in the first half as the 32-year-old Villa failed to score for the first time in three matches. Villa scored City’s only goals in their opening matches against Sydney FC and Newcastle, both of which ended in 1-1 draws.
Saturday’s match was the 13th derby between the Melbourne teams since City, formerly the Melbourne Heart, joined the A-League in 2010. Before kickoff Villa called the game “crucial” to City’s development.
But the match was taken away from them by Berisha who scored in the 45th, 46th and 67th minutes and Archie Thompson who scored in the 23rd and 87th.
Center back Robbie Wielaert opened the scoring for City in the 13th minute when Aaron Mooy’s swinging free kick into the box fell between the goalkeeper and defense.
Thompson equalized after Kosta Barbarouses combined with Guilherme Finkler to give the veteran space. Jason Hoffman put City ahead again in the 26th minute but Berisha equalized on halftime when Barbarouses’ shot was only parried by keeper Andrew Redmayne.
Berisha’s second gave the Victory their first lead in the opening minute of the second half with a deflected strike, and he then scored from the penalty spot for the second time in three games when James Brown fouled Matthieu Delpierre.
Thompson’s second was also created by New Zealand’s Barbarouses with a superb pass which left the striker with only Redmayne to beat.
The win took the Victory back to the top of the A-League table with two wins and a draw, level on points with Sydney FC who beat defending champions Brisbane 2-0.
While the margin was emphatic, Berisha said the win didn’t come easily.
“I wish it was lazy. It was really tough work,” he said. “We came twice back and showed really good character.”
Brisbane suffered its third straight loss at the start of its title defense as goals by Austrian international Marc Janko in the first half and Milos Dimitrijevic in the second gave Sydney a comfortable win.
Janko scored with a brilliant shot from 40 meters in the 28th minute and Dimitrijevic curled his shot into the top corner in the 54th.
“To be honest it was a once in a lifetime goal,” Janko said. “If you give me 100 chances I will probably hit it not one. But it was a beautiful goal and I’m happy to have scored and I’m happy for the team we got the win.”
Wellington play Newcastle and Adelaide play Perth Sunday.