Brisbane Roar 1 Perth Glory 0
Henrique turns away from Ryan Edwards. Photo: Getty Images
In the unlikely event Besart Berisha needed to convince Brisbane to pull out all the stops when offering him a new contract, he has clearly done enough to win over coach Mike Mulvey.
The Albanian striker proved a match winner once more for the Roar with the only goal in a hard-fought win over an undermanned Perth at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
In a game where the Glory largely stifled and frustrated the Roar in front of 12,308 fans, Berisha wriggled clear of veteran defender Steve Pantelidis before blasting home in the 57th minute.
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It was Berisha’s second strike in as many matches since returning from a hamstring injury and highlights the need for the Roar to seal a new deal with the 28-year-old amid reports Sydney FC is preparing to make him a deal he cannot refuse.
There is also speculation Berisha could be considering a return to Europe to take his family closer to relatives. Berisha has scored 38 goals in 60 appearances with the Roar and Mulvey is adamant there will be no way the forward will leave Brisbane under his watch.
‘‘He couldn’t play for anybody else in the A-League,’’ Mulvey said. ‘‘He’s got orange blood. He’s loved by the players, he’s loved by the fans. Of course we want to keep him. We’ll do everything we can. He’s at the peak of his career ... He loves scoring goals and he loves scoring goals for the Brisbane Roar. We love him.’’
Fielding a team shorn of injured pair Scott Jamieson and William Gallas as well as suspended captain Jacob Burns, the Glory made a brave fight of Saturday’s clash, even after New Zealand striker Shane Smeltz limped off in the 37th minute with an ankle injury.
Glory coach Alistair Edwards said there was no doubt Berisha’s class gave Roar the edge. ‘‘The difference is him, Berisha, really,’’ Edwards said.
The victory keeps the Roar at the top of the ladder and extends their winning run at home to a club record-equalling six matches.