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A-League finish shows the ugly side of a beautiful game

Look above and you will see what the face of ugliness looks like...

This isn't a comment on Besart Berisha's looks - although his hairdo is pretty questionable - but instead a judgment on how yesterday's A-League grand final finished.

First let's get the disclaimer formalities out of the way.

I'm what you would call a casual A-League follower. I've reported on it, attended games as a spectactor and will watch it on TV if it takes my fancy.

I call it soccer, rather than football, because I've grown up in an AFL culture and reserve the term for that sport.

I don't really support any particular club but, being a Perth boy born-and-bred, I guess I'm nominally a Glory fan.


I'm happy to accept that Berisha didn't dive yesterday afternoon and merely fell over his own feet in earning the Brisbane Roar's ultimately match-winning grand final goal.

That said, there were three clear losers yesterday - one was the Perth Glory, another was the A-League and the third, by extension, was Berisha himself.

The Glory one is obvious. At the very least, it lost the chance to extend a grand final to extra time because of a crook decision.

I feel similarly sorry for the A-League. I'm not well enough connected to comment on the Clive Palmer and Nathan Tinkler ownership situations but, after such off-field controversy, the league deserved to be able to showcase its on-field wares to a nationwide audience yesterday.

That it didn't get that opportunity - or had it spoiled - was almost entirely the fault of Berisha and much less to do with referee Jarred Gillett.

The ref made a mistake. This is unfortunate but happens every day of the week in every sport. We live with it.

But for Berisha to blatantly appeal for a penalty when he had clearly tripped over his own feet and then, even worse, run around celebrating the referee's incorrect decision (before he had taken the spot kick) was disgraceful.

There are no other printable descriptions for it and he should have lost all credibility in the public eye.

People often talk about what is and isn't the "Australian way".

Although we'll never come to a universal agreement on what this might mean, I think it's fair to say that no-one believes it is a soccer player trying to con a referee, celebrating when he does, carrying on like a pork chop after scoring a goal that never should have been and then not even having the good grace to admit post-match that something dodgy happened.

Apparently the phrase "the meek shall inherit the earth" isn't one Berisha is overly familiar with.

The Glory, which was down to 10 men and outplayed in the 90 minutes, may well have lost in extra time or penalties.

But if there is such a thing as poetic justice in the world, Berisha surely will get bitten on the backside some time in the near future.

Or maybe he already has been to some extent - when I checked his Wikipedia page yesterday evening, he was described as an "Albanian footballer and renowned diver in Australia".

Ah, the joys of modern technology. Pity it doesn't extend to video help with contentious decisions.

NB - I wrote that I felt sorry for the A-League before I realised that the best afield medal had been mistakenly given to the Roar's Thomas Broich instead of Perth's Jacob Burns. Like Burns said in his interview immediately after the match: "I don't think I have the words".

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