In one fell swoop, Besart Berisha ended the title hopes of his future club while setting the perfect stage to farewell his current one.
The A-League’s most fiery figure showed why Melbourne Victory poached him as their $1.5 million marquee man by providing the match-winner in Brisbane Roar’s 1-0 semi-final triumph.
Berisha’s stunning solo goal fired the Roar into Sunday’s A-League grand final – their third at Suncorp Stadium in four seasons – against Western Sydney Wanderers.
Rarely out of the limelight, Berisha produced in the 58th minute, dribbling 30m and shooting, after good lead-up work by Socceroos midfielder Matt McKay.
Brushing off Nick Ansell and firing past goalkeeper Nathan Coe on the right, the Albanian international ensured one more appearance in Roar colours.
“You can obviously see why we signed him,” Victory coach Kevin Muscat lamented post-match.
While the 28,350-strong Brisbane crowd went wild with delight, the striker’s celebrations in front of the touring Melbourne fans were reserved.
“It was definitely a strange feeling but I have a job to do for two more games,” Berisha told Fox Sports. “I will always do my best for my club right down to the last second of my contract.”
Roar coach Mike Mulvey praised the 2011-12 Golden Boot winner but also felt he’d be more dangerous in a week’s time against the Wanderers after a rusty return by his players following a 15-day rest.
“He’s a fabulous player and you saw his value tonight,” Mulvey said. “He’s had several chances and we said to him at halftime maybe take one touch less in the box and look what happened.
“We played our first game in many weeks and we will be sharper next week and better for it.”
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