14/04/2024

Besart Berisha celebrates his goal in the Melbourne Derby. (Photo: Melbourne Victory)

With Besart Berisha announcing his retirement from football, The Inner Sanctum looks back at five of the Kosovan striker's most iconic moments.

With Besart Berisha recently announcing his retirement from football, The Inner Sanctum looks back at five of the Kosovan striker’s most iconic moments down under.

Wherever the A-League’s greatest goal-scorer went, there was box-office entertainment. Whether it be due to his constant ability to score goals, or his antics on the field, there was never a dull moment when Berisha was on the pitch.

5. Melbourne Derby hat-trick

In 2014, Berisha had just completed his move to Melbourne Victory after spending three seasons at the Brisbane Roar, where he won two championships in that time. In Round 3, he would play in his first Melbourne Derby.

Melbourne City went in with high expectations, having recently been acquired by the City Football Group, as well as being boosted by the arrival of Spanish striker, David Villa. However, Berisha would have other ideas, scoring three goals to put City to the sword and guide the Victory to a 5-2 win.

4. Stunning bicycle in Original Rivalry

One of the ultimate big-game players, Berisha would break the hearts of Adelaide United fans when he spectacularly scored from a bicycle-kick in the 89th minute of the 2018 elimination final.

The scores were tied at one goal a piece as the game looked set to enter extra-time. However, a brilliant run from Kosta Barbarouses gave the Victory a late chance in attack.

The New Zealander crossed the ball into the edge of the six-yard-box where Melbourne’s main talisman was waiting. Berisha was heavily marked by Jordan Elsey and was given very little room to move, however a piece of individual brilliance led to one of the greatest goals scored in Original Rivalry history.

3. Late chaos against Sydney

Wherever Berisha went, drama usually followed, and this was one of the most iconic moments in his A-League career. In January 2012, Brisbane Roar faced off against Sydney FC in one of the most remarkable finishes to an A-League game.

Deep into stoppage time, the Roar were down 1-0 with a free-kick just outside the area. Sayed Mohamed Adnan would step up and score directly from the set-piece in what would be his solitary goal for the club.

With less than 90 seconds of injury time remaining, it looked like Brisbane had stolen a point from the grasps of defeat to earn a draw. However, cometh the hour, cometh the man, and Berisha would once again have his say on proceedings late in a game.

He would head home a goal in the 95th minute of the game to send Suncorp Stadium into raptures once again. What would happen next, would assert himself as one of the A-League’s greatest antagonists, a trait of his that was loved by the fans of the club he played for, but equally loathed by rival supporters.

At fulltime, Berisha ran over to Sydney defender, Pascal Bosschaart, provoking the defender before running towards the changerooms in an attempt to engage Bosschaart in a fight.

Subsequently, players and staff from both teams stormed towards the tunnel to separate the pair in chaotic scenes to cap off an incredible night in Brisbane.

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2. Besart Berisha scores fastest ever A-League hat-trick

Fresh off the back of a stunning 2010/11 premiership/championship double, Ange Postecoglou looked to bolster his side in attack and turned to Berisha. In just his fourth game with Brisbane, he proved to the league that he was a special talent.

In a game where the Roar were dominant from start to finish, Berisha gave Australia a first glimpse of his ability and what to expect from him for the the next nine years. He scored three goals in the space of six minutes to take the game away from Adelaide.

Things would only get worse for the Reds as Berisha added his fourth goal of the game in the second half, before Brisbane continued the onslaught, finishing with seven goals in one of the greatest performances by the Roar in the Postecoglou era.

1. 2012 Grand Final heroics

Just like 12 months earlier, Brisbane was trailing late in the Grand Final, and just like earlier in that season, Berisha would step up to save the day at Suncorp Stadium.

In the 83rd minute of the game, Perth Glory held a 1-0 lead. However, you didn’t have to be a genius to know that a lead against Brisbane at home wasn’t safe until the final whistle went.

German maestro Thomas Broich whipped in a perfect cross to find the Kosovan waiting in the middle to head the ball into the back of the net and level the game.

With momentum on its side, Brisbane looked to continue to apply to pressure on the Glory as they tried to hold out until extra-time. However, a late red card for Dean Heffernan meant that Perth would be under extreme pressure for the remainder of the game with just 10 men.

In the fifth minute of added time, Berisha weaved his way through the Perth defence to get a chance to win the game for Brisbane. He went for a shot before missing the ball and falling over, with help from a challenge by Liam Miller.

The referee pointed to the spot in a decision that was controversial to say the least, with replays showing very minimal contact on the Roar poacher as he went down.

With merely seconds remaining in the game, Berisha stepped up to take the penalty, sending Danny Vukovic the wrong way and sealing back-to-back championships for Brisbane.

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