IT STARTED out as a Friday the 13th horror show for Brisbane Roar and ended in a controversial thriller befitting Freaky Friday.
Melbourne Victory last night won an instant contender for game of the year 3-2, its sixth straight win.
In the process the second-placed Victory put a mammoth nine-point gap between it and third-placed Melbourne City, but now faces the prospect of going on a horror road trip to Wellington and Perth next week without Besart Berisha, the star striker bizarrely sent off in the second half.
Victory, propelled by a dazzling display by James Troisi, went three goals to the good inside 27 minutes, before Brisbane pulled two back before the break.
Against all odds that was the way the score stayed until the final whistle, but there was no less action – highlighted by Berisha’s red card.
Whose was more brilliant?1:17
A-League: James Troisi and Dimitri Petratos score brilliant free-kicks in the first half of their encounter at AAMI Park
Troisi opened the scoring in the 12th minute, Marco Rojas doubled the advantage in the 17th before Berisha scored from the penalty spot – after he was brought down by Luke De Vere – 10 minutes later.
Berisha and Roar defender De Vere had the slightest of coming togethers off the ball. There was next to no contact, but De Vere went down holding his face.
The two argued the toss and then, upon advice from his linesman, referee Chris Beath sent Berisha from the field.
The incident comes barely a month after fellow Roar defender Jade North dived to try and get City’s Bruno Fornaroli sent off at the same ground and left Victory fans apoplectic as they roundly booed De Vere for the rest of the night.
Berisha’s ridiculous red 1:20
A-League: Besart Berisha is sent from the field during the Victory’s meeting with Brisbane, but for what?
It also again brings in to question the horrendous standard of A-League officiating this year.
But – luckily for Victory – the sending off only added to what would ultimately become a famous win.
Understandably Brisbane dominated territory and possession for the remainder of the game, but Lawrence Thomas’ easy 90th minute save to deny Matt McKay was probably the most nervous moment for the Victory goalkeeper.
In fact, Troisi had the best chance to add to the scoresheet when he hit the crossbar after a brilliant penalty box buildup in the 80th minute.
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