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Victory through to A-League grand final

NZN 29/04/2017 Ben McKay

Melbourne Victory will play Sydney FC for the A-League championship after Besart Berisha sunk his former club Brisbane Roar in their semi-final on Sunday.

On a tense evening at AAMI Park, Berisha broke the deadlock for Kevin Muscat's men with 20 minutes remaining, heading home Fahid Ben Khalfallah's cross.

Victory were worthy winners after playing the role of aggressors for most of the game and eventually beating determined goalkeeper Jamie Young.

Their progression to the showpiece match - to be played on Sunday May 7 at Allianz Stadium - means the top two finishers will compete in the grand final for the fifth straight year.

The decider is also a repeat of the 2015 contest, won 3-0 by Muscat's men.

Victory showed enormous determination from the outset, but again struggled for incisiveness against the Roar.

Berisha set the tone early when he couldn't control Marco Rojas' cross, losing track of the ball just metres from goal.

James Donachie made a mess of a free header from a Rojas corner and Berisha, Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Leigh Broxham all saw one-on-one chances saved by Young in the first half.

The Brisbane Roar gloveman was in fine form, wearing an armguard after requiring 26 stitches from his midweek collision with a goalpost hook in Thailand.

When Broxham's trailing knee collided with the goalkeeper's head, the game paused for several minutes before he was cleared to continue.

Brandon Borrello had Brisbane's best chances, sending shots outside the goal frame either side of half time.

The tension was rising, as evidenced by the increasing ferocity of Muscat's complaints on the touchline.

Only the sight of Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold on the big screen relaxed proceedings, with Brisbane and Victory fans uniting to sing of their disdain for the premiership winner.

Rojas elevated the occasion with one glorious touch - controlling Daniel Georgievski's long ball and turning Corey Brown inside out.

His shot was too tame to trouble Young but Victory would soon have their goal.

On his last appearance at AAMI Park, Ben Khalfallah's outstanding cross was the difference, as Berisha rose highest to end the season of his former club.

Despite the early wobbles, Muscat said "the performance was outstanding from start to finish".

"When we didn't have the ball, our intensity to get it back was frightening," he said.

"It didn't allow them to get a foothold into the game.

"That many selfless acts today ... we were outstanding."

John Aloisi, who saw his personal winless streak at AAMI Park lengthen to 16 games, said Victory were worthy winners but paid tribute to Young.

"It's hard to put him out of a football match ... he kept us in it," he said.

"We just weren't able to play our football that we had been playing. That's the thing I'm most disappointed about. You have to give credit to Victory."

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