Melbourne Victory vs. Adelaide United – Football Match Report – April 22, 2018


Besart Berisha sent Melbourne Victory into the A-League semifinals, producing a last-gasp overhead kick stunner to defeat Adelaide United 2-1.

Sunday night’s slow-burn elimination final classic looked destined for extra time when Leroy George cancelled out Nikola Mileusnic’s breakaway opener.

Enter Berisha, who rescued the match with a piece of brilliance. The Kosovo international had barely had a moment to savour through a tricky night. But in the 89th minute he climbed into the air, despite Jordan Elsey’s close attention, to score the winner at AAMI Park from Kosta Barbarouses’ cross.

The result was tough on United, who brought a superb attitude to Melbourne.

Adelaide won the pressure battle in the first half, led by combative German Daniel Adlung and anchorman Isaias. For their enterprise, United didn’t have a shot on target until Mileusnic’s 57th-minute breakthrough.

Isaias’ raking ball from a free kick put Miluesnic through on goal, with the South Australian outrunning Rhys Williams to flick past Lawrence Thomas and celebrate in the arms of the rapturous away fans.

Things were looking sour for Victory, with Carl Valeri lucky to stay on the pitch for a studs-up challenge on Ersan Gulum, before Berisha and James Troisi engaged in an on-field slanging match.

Then other half of Kevin Muscat’s attack levelled the match. Barbarouses danced his way down the right, dinking the ball across goal for George to head home.

Victory were finally up and about, with the Dutchman at the heart of two missed chances in the following minutes. Berisha botched a one-on-one chance after George’s dazzling run through midfield and misjudged a header from Troisi with Victory on top.

As injury time loomed, the 32-year-old wouldn’t be denied, reminding all of his finals pedigree.

He, and Victory, will get another chance to test that record next Saturday night in a semi-final against Sydney FC — a rematch of last year’s grand final.

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