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"Everybody in Adelaide can be proud of these boys"


Adelaide United will chase evolution not revolution in the A-League off-season after seeing their flickering finals flame snuffed out by old enemy Melbourne Victory.

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Besart Berisha’s 89th minute wondergoal ended Marco Kurz’s first campaign in Australia as the Reds lost 2-1 at AAMI Park last night.

The German coach appeared deflated after the match but could only express pride in his side’s performance.

“We saw a really good quarter final from two strong teams,” he said.

“I’m very proud about my team. It was very close.

“We are disappointed in the moment… but I am not disappointed with the playing style from our team the whole season. Everybody in Adelaide can be proud of these boys.”

United grabbed the lead against Victory, which came after having the better of the opening hour.

Nikola Miluesnic got the jump on the Victory defence to poke home past Lawrence Thomas.

After Leroy George’s equaliser six minute later, Victory found a way through Berisha as extra-time loomed.

The off-season will bring change at United, which is under new ownership.

A group of European businessmen, who haven’t made their identities public, bought the club in March.

The biggest question is whether they’ll back Kurz – who has another year on his coaching deal – to bring international-quality players to replace any that might leave.

“We are on a good way,” Kurz said.

“It’s up to us to find maybe good players and we will see which players will leave us.

“I think the (new owners will) do the next step but it’s a question for him.

“We have enough time. We will train the next two weeks and we will see with the squad in the break, what we can do to sign new players for Adelaide.”

Berisha, who has scored 116 goals in the A-League, reckoned none was as good as his match-sealing strike.

He hadn’t seen much of the ball until his moment of magic, but the well-travelled international produced an overhead kick from a Kosta Barbarouses cross to nestle the ball in the corner of the net and win a match that looked certain for extra-time and possibly the dreaded penalty shootout.

“I think it is, I personally think (it is my best),” he said.

“It was an important goal for us and to score a goal like that you’re double happy.

“It’s a goal you don’t score much in your career, probably never. That’s my first one like that.

“I’m so happy, it was right at the end and such a difficult game, but so happy to score in the end.”

Berisha said he waited until the last possible moment before committing to the overhead kick.

He laughed off comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo’s wonder-goal against Juventus earlier this month – but said he was inspired by the Portuguese.

“There was nothing else possible. To take a touch, everybody comes and take away the ball,” he said.

“The only option because the man was pulling me back to the goal and I was on the back and that was the only option I had.

“It was something I did, actually, in training after the (Asian) Champions League game.

“The players who didn’t play trained and I did this, I scored in training.

“It’s very interesting because I heard Ronaldo did the same.”

The 32-year-old Berisha has had his critics this season but his goal was his 14th of the season, from 26 games.

Only golden boot winner Bobo and Wanderers frontman Oriol Riera have scored more.

Heading into a Big Blue semi-final with Sydney FC on Saturday, the Kosovo international said he was feeling bright.

“My confidence is really high,” he said.

“You go through tough times, tough moments, but I’ve been through much worse moments.

“This is the game, up and downs.

“I’m not happy with how the season ended up for us but it’s now about the finals.

“This is why I’m so motivated, I love finals. You know that.

“I live for this, it’s something special that I don’t take for granted.”


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