Berisha red card mars impressive Victory win

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With a busy period coming up, the Big V will be extra frustrated at losing their marquee striker to a dubious red card


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Chris Beath's questionable decision to send Besart Berisha off against Brisbane Roar could have extended ramifications on Melbourne Victory's season.

While Beath was left with little choice but to show Berisha a red card in Victory's 3-2 win over Roar following his assistant's recommendation, the dismissal appeared to be a poor one on replay.

While Victory survived the final half hour with a numerical disadvantage, Berisha's impending suspension - barring any cancellation from Football Federation Australia - will hurt in a busy week for the Big V.

The A-League's second-placed team travel to Wellington Phoenix on Tuesday and Perth Glory on Saturday.

This week appeared a great opportunity for Victory to reel in undefeated leaders Sydney FC but if Berisha is forced to sit out even one match it could make a difference.

The Albanian centre-forward struck his 12th goal of the campaign to put Victory three goals to the good in the first half before Roar surged back before the interval.

Victory moved to within four points of leaders Sydney FC ahead of Saturday night's Sydney derby, while Kevin Muscat's side have built a nine-point gap on third-placed Melbourne City.

Roar's third straight defeat sees them 11 points adrift of Victory in fourth.

For the second time this season, a Roar defender appeared to make the most of minimal contact in Melbourne in a bid to get a player sent off.

In December, Jade North apologised for diving after going down clutching his face after an altercation with Melbourne City captain Bruno Fornaroli that saw no action from the referee.

But at AAMI Park on Friday, Berisha's involvement in the match ended in the 58th minute after he backed into Roar central defender Luke DeVere, who immediately grabbed at his nose and mimed a swinging elbow.

After the assistant referee waved his flag, Beath stopped play, consulted with his fellow official and reached for the red card.

Berisha was furious - as was the home crowd - with the striker clapping sarcastically in the direction of DeVere and then clashing with a number of Brisbane players.

Victory had looked to be cruising when Berisha converted a soft 27th-minute penalty to give the hosts a 3-0 lead.

James Troisi had opened the scoring with a classy free-kick in the 12th minute before also teeing up Marco Rojas five minutes later.

But Dimi Petratos' stunning 30-yard free-kick on the half-hour mark gave Brisbane a foothold in the contest, while James Donachie's own goal four minutes before the break made it a tight contest.

The match seemed set up for Roar as Berisha headed down the tunnel in the second half but the visitors struggled to break down a tenacious Victory, who were roared on by a maddened home crowd.

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With Sydney and Victory having built such a significant gap on the rest of the competition, it appears only two teams are genuine contenders for the Premier's Plate this term with just under half the campaign remaining.

 

 

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