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Berisha's A-League goal 100 in Victory win

NZN 13/04/2017 Ben McKay

Besart Berisha has snapped Melbourne Victory's six-hour goal drought with his landmark 100th A-League strike ending Central Coast's 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 semi-final in week two of the finals.

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

Upon breaking the deadlock, the 31-year-old embraced his teammates, then kissed the ground before running to the sideline and planting a kiss on his grateful coach.

Berisha is the first man 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.

Muscat said he was happy to enter the finals having removed a couple of weights off his shoulder.

"Alan (Baro) doesn't pick up his eighth booking. Berisha gets his 100th goal. We pick up our 15th win so there was a lot of good to come out of it," he said.

"Now we can relax and relieve all that tension and get to the business end."

Okon said he was pleased to back up last week's derby win over Newcastle with a good performance to end the season - even if they didn't win.

"Tonight was a difficult game for us because, as you can imagine, the emotions last week of a big derby game," he said.

"For large periods of the game, we showed that we can play football and that's been our approach in most games this season."

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