Besart Berisha grabbed a goal and assist on his Melbourne Victory A-League debut as they opened the 2014-15 season with a thumping 4-1 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday night.
The Victory exploited the Wanderers’ weary legs in front of 30,083 spectators at Docklands after the Parramatta club endured a gruelling preseason in their fairytale run to the Asian Champions League final.
The Melbourne side’s composure on the ball throughout the clash and presence of Berisha up front showed why the Victory are Premier’s Plate favourites this season.
The Wanderers looked a shadow of the side that has swept all before them in Asia as Melbourne Victory’s debutant defender Matthieu Delpierre opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a classy volley from a Gui Finkler free-kick.
A handball in the box then allowed Berisha to slot home from the penalty spot, prompting a stern celebration as he chest-thumped the crest of his new club.
Lovely footwork and close control from Kosta Barbarouses saw the forward’s saved shot fall to Leigh Broxham, who lashed home the rebound to put the Victory 3-0 up inside 28 minutes.
Mark Bridge pulled one back for the Wanderers four minutes before half-time with a thumping finish from a long ball into the box.
But any hopes of a comeback were snuffed out as Berisha threaded through an expertly weighted through-ball to Archie Thompson, who clinically finished past the despairing Ante Covic.
In doing so, Thompson became the only player in the history of the A-League to score a goal in each of the domestic competition’s first 10 seasons.
The Wanderers had a chance to score a second goal as Vitor Saba broke down the left before crossing for Brendon Santalab, but the forward could not produce a finish.
The Victory probed the Wanderers’ defence through the remainder of the second stanza but could not fashion a fifth goal.
Broxham had a chance late on to score his team’s fifth goal, but his double strike was twice blocked out by desperate defence.