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Muscat hails A-League record-maker Berisha

NZN 17/12/2016 Ben McKay

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat says he's never encountered an A-League competitor like Besart Berisha but the Albanian revealed he needed to give himself a half-time pep talk to secure the winner in Saturday's Melbourne derby.

Berisha netted a 78th minute goal to win the A-League classic for Victory over Melbourne City in a 2-1 comeback triumph.

Tim Cahill had put City ahead before Marco Rojas tied up the match heading into halftime.

As he's done so many times before, Berisha stepped up on the big stage to find a winner.

The goal was his eighth in Melbourne derbies - a record - and drew the 31-year-old level with Archie Thompson as the A-League's all-time leading scorer.

But for 45 minutes it didn't look like coming after an uncharactistically wasteful opening half.

Berisha made a mess of two one-on-one chances and took an air swing at an extravagant volley in the first stanza.

He said doubts crept into his head during the break.

"I had a couple of chances in the beginning and I thought, 'Oh my god, I'm not going to score any more. What is going on?'," he said.

"I was very emotional coming into this game. We had lost the last two (derbies).

"(At halftime) I was very angry. I went inside and smashed everything around.

"I motivated myself. I tell myself, 'one more chance you're going to get and you've gotta be there'.

"In the end I'm very happy that I scored the winner."

Late into the changerooms, Muscat didn't see Berisha's destruction but he would now be asking some questions.

"If he did smash anything he'll be replacing it himself, I can guarantee you that," he said.

Muscat said he did see a focussed player.

"I asked him to maintain his composure and keep getting in goalscoring positions. He said "I'll score in the second half', Muscat said.

"The self belief that he's got is unmatched in anything I've seen in this country."

There was a hint of offside about the goal but no one in the City camp was complaining - a sign perhaps that the result was a deserved one.

The result was Victory's first derby success in five matches dating to October 2015.

Berisha said he was delighted to help end Victory's derby drought.

"I'm so grateful that I scored in the end to bring the three points home for the boys," he said.

"This means a lot to our supporters to our club. I dedicate this game to the supporters. They are amazing."

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