Besart Berisha hits hat trick as Melbourne Victory thrash Central Coast Mariners

From ESPN - March 18, 2018

Besart Berisha and Kevin Muscat continued their reign of pain over Central Coast Mariners as Melbourne Victory romped to a 5-2 win at AAMI Park.

Berisha scored his first hat trick in 15 months and Muscat lengthened his unbeaten coaching streak over the minnows to 15 matches in a Sunday stroll for the A-League heavyweights.

Leroy George's opener and Christian Theoharous' late stunner bookended Berisha's work to earn Victory a third straight win, lifting them over rivals Melbourne City to third in the table.

Victory's late season revival has come too late to challenge for the premiership -- which is a shootout between Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets.

But on this form, Victory will eagerly await a finals campaign in which they must feel they can threaten.

Chief behind their confidence is George. The uncontracted Dutchman's asking price to stay at Victory beyond this season grew again after an unplayable performance. He romped away from Jake McGing to blast home on 15 minutes before setting up Berisha for a second 10 minutes later.

More trickery contributed to Berisha's second on 54 minutes -- with James Troisi selflessly laying the ball back for the Kosovo international.

George's dogged pursuit of the ball allowed substitute Terry Antonis to cross for Berisha's third; a back-post header that secured the veteran a perfect treble.


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