A brace from Besart Berisha helped Melbourne Victory to a routine 3-0 win over Wellington Phoenix in the A-League on Monday ahead of the FFA Cup final next weekend.
Victory were beaten 1-0 by Newcastle Jets away from home last time out in the league but Berisha’s double – either side of an Andrew Durante own-goal – maintained the champions’ promising start to their title defence.
Berisha’s goals were key to Victory’s success last season and he took his tally in all competitions to five early on at Etihad Stadium when he collected Gui Finkler’s pass before finishing past Glen Moss.
Phoenix – targeting a third consecutive A-League win – steeled themselves but were two down early in the second half courtesy of Durante’s misfortune.
Kosta Barbarouses cut in from the right and saw his cross deflected beyond Moss via Durante’s outstretched leg 10 minutes after the interval.
With the points all but sealed there was time for Berisha to put the game to bed shortly after the hour mark.
Having been clipped by Moss when through on goal, the Albanian stayed alert while on the ground to prod home a third as Victory warmed up for the FFA Cup final against Perth Glory on Saturday in style.
The win lifts Victory above Phoenix and into fourth place in the standings, three points behind leaders Sydney FC.