Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey has spoken of his delight for Besart Berisha after the striker sealed a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Central Coast Mariners on Sunday.
The hosts went behind at Suncorp Stadium to a Mile Sterjovski penalty in the 36th minute, but fought back to complete a dramatic turnaround when Berisha fortuitously looped home the winner in the final minute of regular time.
“I’m delighted for him because he’s had a very tough couple of weeks,” Mulvey said.
“He won us the game today – it is a team game but someone still has to stick the ball in the back of the net. I’m very, very pleased for him.”
Mulvey, whose team now sit seven points clear atop the A-League ladder with a game in hand, pointed beyond the individual contributions of the likes of Thomas Broich to praise the entire team performance.
“We play without fear. I think that’s a very important aspect of our game,” he said.
“What we were guilty of in the first half if anything – even though we created probably the better chances – was we weren’t moving the ball quickly enough and we were allowing them to get compact.
“You might think it is good fortune scoring late goals, I looked at it as us building, building, building, moving a couple of players around and the players responded.”
Central Coast coach Phil Moss remained proud of his team’s effort despite their inability to convert a first half lead into points.
“I’m so disappointed for my players, they dug deep,” Moss said.
“To come out of a week like we’ve just had, losing players of the calibre of [Daniel] McBreen and [Trent] Sainsbury, and having to dig in the way we did against a top shelf Brisbane Roar team on their home patch I’m so proud of my boys.”
Though they were under heavy pressure for much of the match, Moss denied the week’s interruptions meant a pragmatic approach was acceptable.
“We don’t come anywhere just to sit back and defend,” he said.
“The problem was that we gave the ball away far too cheaply and didn’t control possession like we like to, so we ended up having to defend a lot more and probably deeper than what we would have liked.
“[But] I thought we did ever so well to stay in the contest as long as we did and then we could have snatched a point at the end when Mitchell Duke hit the post.”
The Mariners mentor alluded to the possibility of a further two players joining the club following the recent captures of experienced defender Eddy Bosnar and South Korean Kim Seung-yong, who will arrive in Australia on Tuesday.
The return of Steven Lustica to Brisbane, meanwhile, appears imminent, with Adelaide United confirming on Sunday the release of the former Roar loanee from the remainder of his contract.