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2019-20 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Besart Berisha (6', 21')
  • Kye Rowles (18' OG)

Besart Berisha lifts Western United to win over Central Coast Mariners

Western United have burst back to form but their 3-0 A-League win over Central Coast has been soured by an injury to mercurial captain Alessandro Diamanti in Geelong.

Besart Berisha scored twice and Mariners defender Kye Rowles put the ball in his own net, as United surged to a 3-0 lead inside 21 minutes on Sunday afternoon at GMHBA Stadium.

United opened the scoring after just six minutes.

Diamanti eased his way past Gianni Stensness and looped a terrific ball towards Berisha, who powered a header from beyond the penalty spot into the top corner.

The home side doubled their lead via an own-goal in the 18th minute.

Connor Pain's scintillating cross skidded past all comers and into the path of Josh Risdon, whose long-range shot was cut into the net by Rowles.

Three minutes later, the excellent Max Burgess went on a mazy run and cut the ball back to Berisha, who tapped home - with the ball taking a deflection off Rowles.

Mariners skipper Tommy Oar found Jordan Murray at a corner in the 25th minute, but the striker's header just flashed wide.

Diamanti limped off in the 27th minute and was replaced three minutes later by Dario Jertec.

United almost made it 4-0 in the 37th minute.

Burgess weaved his way through traffic and slipped the ball to Pain, who finished past Mark Birighitti with aplomb - only for the goal to be ruled offside.

Despite a lengthy VAR review, the offside call stood.

Birighitti stood tall to make a strong save late in the first half then, in the closing seconds, Murray looked to inspire the Mariners with a dramatic bicycle kick but his attempt went wide.

In the 55th minute, a delightful ball from Burgess released Pain, who recovered his smothered shot to cut the ball back to Panagiotis Kone, who hit the bar.

Central Coast's best chance came in the 61st minute when Murray's close-range shot beat the United defence, but Filip Kurto scrambled to gather the ball.

From there, the game settled into a holding pattern, with United sealing their first win in more than a month.

The victory keeps United entrenched in fifth place while the Mariners remain 10th.