17/04/2024

Valon Berisha was superb on Friday night. (Photo: Melbourne City FC)

Melbourne City kicked off its season with a 2-1 victory over Western United, with new signing Valon Berisha one of the stars of the show.

The first game of the season is always one teams want to win. After months of pre-season, the first real competitive hitout comes, and you want those three points.

The thirst for an opening day win for Melbourne City was even more significant. Facing last year’s champions in Western United, the team that City lost to in the Grand Final. Talk about motivation.

New signing Valon Berisha was getting his first taste of Australian football, and to say he performed well is an understatement.

The 29-year-old was superb in City’s midfield, as he showed moments of extreme class, and, at times, was a level above his competition. He controlled the midfield and looked comfortable doing as he pleased at AAMI Park.

Berisha finished with an 87.1 per cent accuracy on his passes, had 52 touches, and was the main catalyst for his side’s opening goal that was ruled out by VAR.

City manager Patrick Kisnorbo spoke to the media post-game, and stated that while Berisha’s performance was good against Western United, he wants the 29-year-old to keep working on his craft.

“Look, he done okay today, I think there is a long way to go,” Kisnorbo said.

“But a great first performance with the team and with the players and the club. But also you know I still think he needs to work a bit more and work a bit harder.

“We are here to help him improve and to help the team, that’s our main aim, but for his game tonight, I thought he was okay.”

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Given that it is the 29-year-old’s first game, Berisha looked superb in everything he did. Such was his performance that the midfield that he was named Melbourne City’s Man of the Match.

For Kisnorbo, though, he is not satisfied with the performance and stated that he wants more from the midfielder and that we can’t judge him off one game.

“A lot more, a lot more,” Kisnorbo said when asked what he wanted from Berisha.

“Just everything you know. I think with us, we’re always pushing, and we can’t start judging a player off one game. It’s got to be consistent so if that’s the level he is at, we need to push him to make that a consistent thing.”

The midfielder has almost immediately endeared himself to City fans after his performance, and in his post-match interview with Paramount+, he revealed that he wanted to help City erase the memory of last year’s Grand Final loss.

“Every game is a big game but of course,” Berisha said.

“For them, when you think about the season and losing the grand final, I just wanted to help the team and win today, and I think we did a really good game and we should just keep on pushing now.”

Melbourne City has gotten off to the perfect start, taking all three points on opening night, and will face Brisbane Roar next Friday night.

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