2016/17 Australian A-League, 2016 Australian A-League
  • Besart Berisha (80')

Besart Berisha nets 100th A-League goal as Victory beat Mariners

Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Besart Berisha has ended Melbourne Victory's six-hour goal drought with his landmark 100th A-League strike ending Central Coast Mariners' season with a 1-0 loss.

The Kosovo international ended a procession of near misses for Kevin Muscat's side, stroking home Jai Ingham's cutback in the 80th minute at AAMI Park after swinging and missing at James Troisi's cross seconds earlier.

The three points earned are of little use to Victory, who had already locked up second spot -- and a home semifinal in week two of the finals.

But the momentum that Berisha's goal brought could be crucial, given the alternative was entering the finals on a four-game winless and goalless streak.

Berisha is the first player to tally a century of A-League goals, scoring 48 at Brisbane over three seasons and 52 at Victory during the same period.

Until that moment, it looked as though Central Coast would hold Victory at bay.

Paul Izzo produced a magnificent first-half save to deny Socceroos attacker James Troisi, with Adam Berry impressive in a holding midfielder role.

Troisi, Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Carl Valeri all skied efforts from long range in a first half desperately lacking spark.

In possibly his last appearance for the club, Mariners striker Roy O'Donovan was released clean through on goal but the Irishman couldn't beat Lawrence Thomas at full spread.

After the break, Victory showed more industry, with man-of-the-match contender Rashid Mahazi and James Donachie whizzing long strikes past the woodwork as the match opened up.

Berisha missed a tap-in five metres from goal but would enjoy the last laugh.

The match ends the season for Paul Okon's Mariners, who aren't yet safe from the wooden spoon.

Despite impressing with their enterprise, Central Coast will drop from their current position of eighth should Adelaide and Newcastle win their round 27 matches.

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