2019-20 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Besart Berisha (17', 43')
  • Panagiotis Kone (24')
  • Andrew Nabbout (14')

Besart Berisha bags brace as Western United send Melbourne Victory bottom

Once a hero in navy blue, Besart Berisha has been Melbourne Victory's villain in green and black, with his heroics snapping Western United's three-game losing streak in a 3-1 victory over his former A-League club.

Victory took the lead through Andrew Nabbout in the 14th minute, but Berisha's double in the 17th and 43rd minutes bookended Panagiotis Kone's 24th-minute strike for a memorable win at GMHBA Stadium.

The win propels United back into the top four, while Victory sink to 10th on the table.

Victory fans -- who made up a significant chunk of the 10,128-strong crowd -- booed every United player as their faces appeared on the big screen before kickoff, but reserved rapturous applause for Berisha. By day's end, they were left to rue his involvement.

Robbie Kruse was denied by Filip Kurto in the sixth minute but, 11 minutes later, Nabbout handed Victory the lead.

Jakob Poulsen delivered a superb ball on the wing to release Nabbout and the Socceroo backed his pace against Ersan Gulum before unleashing a scintillating strike across his body and into the opposite bottom corner.

But the visitors' joy was short-lived, as it took barely three minutes for the home side to respond.

Connor Pain made an explosive run down the left wing and sent a tantalising cross into a cluster of players, with Berisha rising highest to head home.

The Victory legend didn't celebrate his first goal against his former team, leaving his teammates to revel in their first strike in four games.

In the 24th minute, United snatched the lead.

Kone was the quickest to meet Alessandro Diamanti's low free kick to the near post and prodded home on the volley.

Victory should have equalised shortly after the half-hour mark, with Kurto saving Ola Toivonen's skidding shot in the 31st minute, James Donachie hitting the woodwork and Nabbout shooting wide a minute later.

But despite Victory's attacking inroads, United were next to score.

As the half wound down, an advancing Josh Risdon floated in a delightful ball for Berisha to head home his second.

This time, the ex-Victory marksman relished in his celebration -- throwing out his arms and running to the United bench, where he embraced coach Mark Rudan and teammates.

In the 74th minute, Kurto produced a superb one-handed save to deny Toivonen's close-range shot off the back of brilliant attacking play by substitute Josh Hope.

From there, United held on for an emphatic win.