Melbourne Victory extended its Hyundai A-League winning streak to three with an entertaining 2-1 win against the Newcastle Jets.
Besart Berisha’s 53rd-minute goal proved to be the match-winner for Victory at AAMI Park on Friday night.
Earlier, Kosta Barbarouses’ opener was cancelled out by Jason Hoffman, while Mark Milligan had a penalty saved in the second half.
The win was Victory’s third consecutive, lifting it into third on the Hyundai A-League table.
Victory made a lively start, but the Jets had the first real opportunity, Hoffman heading a Nikolai Topor-Stanley cross wide.
After an even opening half-hour, Victory took the lead through Barbarouses.
Jason Geria was released down the right before cutting back to the winger, who curled an effort into the top corner for his third goal of the Hyundai A-League campaign.
Victory almost doubled its lead five minutes before the break, Leroy George taking down a Thomas Deng pass beautifully, only for his powerful low strike to bounce off the post.
The Jets levelled on the stroke of half-time, Hoffman tucking a finish past Lawrence Thomas in a one-on-one after a Steven Ugarkovic through ball.
Just three minutes into the second half and Victory had another great chance, George turning his man down the left before crossing to the back post, where Barbarouses hit the side-netting.
But the hosts would restore their lead in the 53rd minute.
Berisha held his run before being released by George, the forward firing powerfully past Glen Moss in a one-on-one to put Victory 2-1 up.
Victory had another opportunity on the hour-mark after Jets defender Ivan Vujica brought Geria down in the area.
However, Milligan – the hero in the Melbourne Derby last week – saw his penalty saved by Moss.
Thomas was called into action in the 65th minute, diving down low to his right to deny Ugarkovic as the end-to-end clash continued.
Victory thought it had struck again three minutes later as Berisha put away a George set-piece, but the effort was ruled out for offside.
Hoffman missed a headed opportunity and James Troisi fired over the bar in the final 15 minutes as Victory closed out a deserved win.
Player in focus
What they said – Besart Berisha
on his goal…
“I’m very happy, of course, I scored a goal. It was a very important goal. We keep our winning ways (going) and it’s good. I’m a striker, I love scoring goals and I’m always happy to do that and I was a little bit unlucky in the last games but very happy today.”
on another win…
“I’m very happy. We had an unbelievably tough time, especially in the beginning of the season and we know what we are capable of, we are a strong team and it just didn’t work out in the first games and I’m really happy now the goals are coming, the game is better and we are happy. We’re winning games and I hope we can continue like that.”
Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Round 13
Melbourne Victory 2 (Kosta Barbarouses 33′, Besart Berisha 53′)
Newcastle Jets 1 (Jason Hoffman 45+1′)
Melbourne Victory: Thomas (gk), Geria, Deng, Williams, Nigro, Valeri (c), Milligan, Troisi (Sanchez 89′), Barbarouses (Theoharous 90+3′), Berisha, George (Ingham 87′)
Newcastle Jets: Moss (gk), Koutroumbis (Jackson 79′), Boogaard (c), Topor-Stanley, Vujica, Kantarovski (Brown 45′), Ugarkovic, Petratos, Hoffman, Nabbout, Champness (Shabow 81′)
Yellow cards: Vujica 58′, Troisi 81′, Williams 85′
Red cards: Nil
Venue: AAMI Park
Victory hosts the Central Coast Mariners at Geelong’s GMHBA Stadium on Saturday, January 6 in a Round 14 clash. Tickets available here.