Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey says he’ll be doing all he can to keep Besart Berisha at the A-League club after he starred once more in a 1-0 win over Perth.
In the unlikely event Besart Berisha needed to convince Brisbane to pull out all the stops when offering him a new contract, he’s clearly done enough to win over coach Mike Mulvey.
The Albanian marksman proved a matchwinner once more for the Roar with the only goal in a hard-fought 1-0 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.
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 28-year-old amid reports rival A-League club Sydney FC is preparing to make him a deal he can’t refuse.
There’s also speculation Berisha could be considering a return to Europe to take his family closer to relatives.
In his two and a bit seasons at the Roar, Berisha has scored 38 goals in 60 appearances 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 our player. He wants to play for us. 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.
New Zealand striker Shane Smeltz limped off in the 37th minute with an ankle injury but only a goalline clearance to stop a Michael Thwaite header before halftime prevented the visitors taking a lead into the break.
Glory coach Alistair Edwards said there was no doubt Berisha’s class gave Brisbane the edge as they otherwise failed to break down the visitors’ defence.
It’s a recurring story for the Glory, who conceded two goals to the Albanian – including a controversial last minute penalty kick – in the 2012 grand final at the same venue.
“The difference is him, Berisha, really,” Edwards said.
“That’s happening quite a lot in the games. So if teams can figure out a way to keep him quiet then you go a long way to beating Brisbane.”
Saturday’s victory keeps the Roar at the top of the A-League ladder and extends their winning run at home to a club record-equalling six matches.
It also featured a solid debut by young goalkeeper Matt Acton, who kept a clean sheet in his first start in place of the injured Michael Theo, a performance which Mulvey was “absolutely delighted” with.
The Roar travel to Adelaide next week while Perth host Wellington on Friday night.