Melbourne Victory 4 x 2 Newcastle Jets – Hyundai A-League 2016/2017


Besart Berisha has become the Hyundai A-League’s greatest-ever goal scorer in Melbourne Victory’s thrilling 4-2 win over Newcastle Jets in Geelong on Monday night.

After Jets defender John Koutroumbis was adjudged to have handled in the box, Berisha scored from the penalty spot to open the scoring to register his 91st Hyundai A-League goal.

The Albanian’s goal gives him the record on his own, taking him past former team-mate Archie Thompson (90 goals) and two clear of Wellington Phoenix’s Shane Smeltz (89), who will return to action on Thursday night.

Berisha’s milestone capped an entertaining clash at Simonds Stadium, with further goals either side of the break to Marco Rojas and Fahid Ben Khalfallah putting Victory 3-0 up inside an hour.

The Jets hit back almost immediately through substitute Ma Leilei but James Troisi restored Victory’s three-goal lead soon after before a deflected Wayne Brown strike completed the scoring.

The win for second-placed Victory keeps them seven points behind league-leaders Sydney FC – with a game in hand – while the Jets are now in seventh position.


1-0 Victory: Besart Berisha 30’ (pen)

From the handball decision in the box, Berisha slammed his penalty into the corner to the keeper’s right to secure his slice of history.

2-0 Victory: Marco Rojas 35’

James Troisi played a neat one-two with Berisha and surged into the box before crossing for Rojas to volley home from close range.

3-0 Victory: Fahid Ben Khalfallah 60’

Rojas turned provider this time, racing down the right before unselfishly squaring for Ben Khafallah. The Tunisian’s shot was partially blocked by Duncan but managed to trickle over the line.

3-1 Jets: Ma Leilei 61’

Twisted and turned past a couple of defenders before his low strike from distance beat Lawrence Thomas and snuck inside the post.

4-1 Victory: James Troisi 69’

The Jets failed to clear the ball from their own area with Troisi gaining possession, taking one touch forward before rifling a powerful effort past a stranded Duncan.

4-2 Jets: Wayne Brown 76’

A driving run from Brown ended with his shot from the edge of the box taking a wicked deflection off Carl Valeri to wrong-foot Lawrence and roll into the net.


Jets defender Ivan Vujica limped off just before the break with a hamstring injury.


14,081 @ Simonds Stadium

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Football Federation Australia


Melbourne Victory 4 x 1 Central Coast Mariners – Hyundai A-League 2016/2017

Melbourne Victory have signalled this season’s Premiership race is far from over after dismantling the Central Coast Mariners 4-1 at a humid AAMI Park on Wednesday night.

Kevin Muscat’s side dominated proceedings from the outset and deservedly took the lead when Jake McGing was forced to turn into his own net, denying Besart Berisha the chance to become the league’s outright all-time leading scorer.

Defender James Donachie netted his first Victory goal after the interval to extend the home side’s advantage before two goals in as many minutes from Marco Rojas sealed the result.

Fahid Ben Khalfallah was in scintillating form for Victory, having a hand in three of his side’s four goals, while Trent Buhagiar hit his first Hyundai A-League goal to register a late consolation for the visitors.

The result sees Melbourne Victory reclaim second spot and move within seven points of Sydney FC on the ladder – still with a game in hand, while the Mariners remain ninth after being consigned to their fourth straight loss.



1-0 Melbourne Victory: Jake McGing OG, 28’

A sloppy turnover from the Mariners playing out from the back allowed Ben Khalfallah to break downfield. The Tunisian squared the ball for Berisha whose touch was directed into the Mariners net by McGing as he tried to get back in cover.

2-0 Melbourne Victory: James Donachie, 50’

James Troisi delivered a deft free-kick into the Mariners box which found the Victory defender inexplicably unmarked inside the box. Donachie had all the time he needed to direct his header downwards towards goal giving Paul Izzo no chance.

3-0 Melbourne Victory: Marco Rojas, 58’

The Mariners were cheaply dispossessed on halfway by Berisha who quickly fed Ben Khalfallah as Victory again hit their opponents in transition. The 34-year-old zeroed in on goal before unselfishly playing in Rojas for a tap in.

4-0 Melbourne Victory: Marco Rojas 59’

Ben Khalfallah was again the architect for the home side with his chip over the top finding the ‘Kiwi Messi’ in plenty of space. Rojas maintained his composure, slotting the ball past Izzo to register his seventh goal of the campaign.

4-1 Central Coast Mariners: Trent Buhagiar, 89’

A quickly taken free-kick from Mariners skipper Nick Montgomery found his pacey teenage winger in space behind Victory’s defence. Buhagiar held his nerve in front of goal, chipping the onrushing Thomas to give the Mariners’ travelling fans something to cheer.


Victory extended their unbeaten run to six matches and they’ve not been beaten by Central Coast in ten games.


20,491 at AAMI Park

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Football Federation Australia

Melbourne Victory’s ‘Kiwi Messi’ Marco Rojas bosses assist stats

Marco Rojas has been in sizzling from to start the Hyundai A-League season.

The assist stats reveal Marco Rojas is bossing it this Hyundai A-League season, though a Wanderers midfielder leads “chances created” and a Sydney FC star is way ahead in “passes into the final third”. Opta Data has more.

Melbourne Victory’s Rojas has enjoyed a seamless return to the league after three years abroad in Germany.

A mix of international duty and injury has meant he has made just seven appearances for the campaign but still leads the competition for assists.

While he has also got on the scoresheet six times himself, Rojas has set up six goals for team-mates, more than anyone else in the Hyundai A-League.





Chances Created

Passes, Into Final Third


Cross Accuracy

Rojas, Marco








Ninkovic, Milos








Nichols, Mitch








Oar, Tommy








Brandán, Fernando








Nicolás Martínez








Harold, Chris








Kamau, Bruce








Nabbout, Andrew








Just behind the Kiwi international is Sydney FC’s Serbian star Milos Ninkovic.

“Ninko” has arguably been the Hyundai A-League’s best midfielder over the first three months of the season, with five assists for the league-leading Sky Blues.

His five goals is also an impressive return but as the stats shows, Ninkovic is key at getting the ball into Sydney’s attacking third, playing 87 passes into that area.

Mitch Nichols is one of two Western Sydney Wanderers in the top nine when it comes to assists, and is currently equal third with four for the campaign.

Nichols, along with Brisbane Roar’s Tommy Oar, both have set up four goals but the Wanderers playmaker is perhaps unlucky not to have laid on more.

Nichols’ 27 chances created is the most of any on the list, but the Wanderers’ wasteful attack often hasn’t capitalised.

Oar’s best work has come from wider areas, notching 37 crosses from his 11 appearances. Only Sydney’s Michael Zullo (41) has made more.

While Oar is still searching for his first goal, no other Roar player has managed more than one assist, making him the team’s chief creator so far.

Wanderer Nico Martinez, Melbourne City duo Fernando Brandan and Bruce Kamau, Perth Glory’s Chirs Harold and Newcastle Jets star Andrew Nabbout are the other assist masters, all with three for the campaign.

 Football Federation Australia

Schedule announced for Westfield FFA Cup Semi Finals

Melbourne Victory stars Besart Berisha and Marco Rojas celebrate a goal in their Quarter-Final win over Bentleigh.

Tuesday 25 October 2016 has been confirmed as the date for the historic Westfield FFA Cup Semi Final between Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City after the match details for both Semi Finals were announced by Football Federation Australia (FFA) today.

The two bitter Victorian Hyundai A-League rivals will lock horns at AAMI Park in what will be their first meeting in the Westfield FFA Cup’s three year existence, just 10 days after they meet in Round 2 of the league.

With Melbourne Victory looking to defend their title and Melbourne City FC aiming to reach their first Westfield FFA Cup Final after falling at the Semi Final stage last year, the match is certain to deliver another intriguing chapter in the history of the Melbourne Derby.

The other Semi Final featuring 2016 fairytale story Canberra Olympic, the last remaining Member Federation club, and Sydney FC is set down for Wednesday 19 October.

The match will be played at Viking Park in the Canberra suburb of Wanniassa, the same venue that saw a crowd of 5,150 watch Tuggeranong United take on Melbourne Victory in the Round of 16 in 2014.

Considering Canberra Olympic’s Cinderella run to the Semi Finals and the prospect of Sydney FC coming to the nation’s capital with a spot in the Westfield FFA Cup decider on the line, an even bigger turn out is expected for this David against Goliath Cup tie.

FOX SPORTS will provide full coverage of both Semi Finals with coverage from 7pm AEDT.

Ticketing information for the Westfield FFA Cup 2016 Semi Finals will be released soon by the home clubs. Please visit  for further details.

Westfield FFA Cup 2016 – Semi Final Fixtures

Date Home Team Away Team Kick-off time (local) Kick-off time (AEDT) Venue Match Hashtag
Wed 19 October Canberra Olympic (ACT) v Sydney FC 7:30pm 7:30pm Viking Park, Wanniassa ACT #COLvSYD
Tues 25 October Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City FC 7:30pm 7:30pm AAMI Park, Melbourne VIC #MVCvMCY

Note: Details of fixtures are subject to change


Football Federation Australia

Melbourne Victory into FFA Cup semis after second-half blitz

Victory players celebrate Marcos Rojas' goal in their win over Bentleigh Greens.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Michael Huguenin
A second-half blitz has seen Melbourne Victory defeat a stubborn Bentleigh Greens 2-0 to move into the FFA Cup semi-finals.

Victory scored twice in five second half minutes on Tuesday, with Marco Rojas and James Troisi getting on the scoresheet, as the 2015 FFA Cup winners maintained their bid for back-to-back titles.

The visitors dominated possession throughout the match at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex but it wasn’t until after half-time that they started to regularly break through the Greens’ defence.

Victory’s best chance of the first half came in the 12th minute when Oliver Bozanic forced a top save from Greens goalkeeper Ryan Scott.

In fact, Bentleigh arguably had the better of the openings in the latter stages of the first period but Tyson Holmes and Josh Brindell-South’s final passes failed to find team-mates.

Victory’s intensity went up a gear after half-time and they eventually took the lead in the 64th minute.

A misplaced pass from former Victory player Kieran Dover saw Bozanic gain possession and his cross was swept home by a sliding Rojas.

Four minutes later and Troisi’s shot deflected off Troy Ruthven and in off the underside of the crossbar to double Victory’s lead.

While Bentleigh kept fighting, Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas barely had to make a save, and the visitors twice went close to a third goal late on with Scott denying Rojas from close range and Besart Berisha hitting the post.

Bentleigh Greens 0

Melbourne Victory 2

Rojas (64′) Troisi (68′)


Football Federation Australia


Marco Rojas has returned to Melbourne Victory on a two-year contract.

Marco Rojas has returned to Melbourne Victory on a two-year contract.

Melbourne Victory have completed the signing of New Zealand international and former Johnny Warren Medallist Marco Rojas and on a two-year Hyundai A-League contract.

Rojas, a former golden boot winner, made 50 appearances for Victory from 2011-13 before spending the past three years in Europe.

The 24-year-old and his German club VfB Stuttgart mutually agreed to part ways this week, paving the way for his return to Victory.

Kevin Muscat was part of the coaching staff at Victory when Rojas arrived for his first stint at the club, first as an assistant and later as head coach.

Rojas will also reunite with former teammates including Leigh Broxham, Nick Ansell, Lawrence Thomas, Jason Geria and Scott Galloway.

“This is another significant signing for our club as we continue to prepare for the new A-League season,” Muscat said.

“We all know the quality Marco possesses. We’re excited to see him return to Victory and I’m sure our fans will welcome him back.”

Rojas was born in New Zealand and signed his first Hyundai A-League contract with Wellington Phoenix in 2009, where he played for two seasons.

He then crossed to Victory, making 23 appearances in his debut season before setting the Hyundai A-League alight during the 2012/13 campaign.

In that season, he scored 15 goals and won the Johnny Warren Medal, the A-League Young Footballer of the Year award and Victory’s Golden Boot.

His performances led to interest abroad, and he signed with Stuttgart for the 2013/14 season.

He later had stints on loan to Greuther Furth (Germany) and FC Thun (Switzerland), with the latter move yielding 37 appearances and four goals.

Rojas has earned 25 caps with the New Zealand national team, the All Whites.

In 2015, he was also named in Victory’s inaugural Team of the Decade.


Football Federation Australia

Cavalcade of stars in Melbourne Victory team of the decade

March 29, 2015 – 12:46AM

Michael Lynch

Senior sports reporter with The Age

Merrick named coach of the decade: Archie Thompson and Kevin Muscat are two of the legends of the club who were aslo recognised on Saturday night.

Merrick named coach of the decade: Archie Thompson and Kevin Muscat are two of the legends of the club who were aslo recognised on Saturday night. Photo: Vince Caligiuri

Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick will be doing everything in his power to beat Melbourne Victory on Easter Sunday and ensure that his current club makes history by winning its first everA-League Premiers Plate. But on Saturday night Merrick made a little more history of his own, this time of the Victory variety, when he was named as the coach of the decade for the A-League’s biggest club.

The Scotsman was Victory’s inaugural coach for the first A-League season in 2005-06 and put together its first playing squad, headed up by two other team-of-the-decade members, skipper and now current coach Kevin Muscat and the A-League’s record goalscorer, Archie Thompson.

That first year was a failure, Victory finished seventh in the eight-team league and was the worst-placed Australian club, with only the now defunct New Zealand Knights beneath them.

But that preceded five years of almost unbroken success, when Merrick led the team to two premiership/championship doubles (2006-07 and 2008-09) and a third grand final in 2010, when they were beaten on penalties by Sydney.

He was dumped by the club in March 2011 after taking itthe club to the finals that season. In his six seasons with the club he only missed the play-offs twice, when they were trying to defend their title for the first time in season 2007-08.

For a club synonymous with success – certainly in the early years of the competition – there are few surprises in the team-of-the-decade line-up.

The most contentious decision was to make the cut-off point of consideration for selection 20 games, which meant that Fred could not be considered as he had not played enough games for the club. The brilliant Brazilian midfielder was only in navy blue for one year, but what a year.

After a slow start the hard-running Fred became Victory’s key man and anyone who saw the 6-0 destruction of Adelaide in the 2007 grand final will not forget two things: ArchieThompson’s individual five-goal haul, nor the way that Fred created all of them. Such was his influence that night that after one of his goals Thompson ran to Fred, knelt at his feet and began to mimic polishing his boots.

In goal in the team of the decade is current Brisbane custodian Michael Theo (known as Theoklitos in his Victory days).

One of two high-quality shot-stoppers brought to the club by Merrick – the other was current Adelaide captain and Socceroos goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic – Theo had to share the goalkeeping job on rotation with his teammate before Merrick eventually opted to make him No. 1number one.

Theo was between the posts for Victory for four years, 2005 to 2009, and in that period won two premiership/championship doubles and was three times voted A-League goalkeeper of the year.

After a disappointing season in England, Theo returned to join Brisbane Roar, where he remains now, having won another three championships.

The back four is anchored at right back by Muscat, a man who is synonymous with the club. Its inaugural captain and now its coach, Muscat, along with Thompson, is one of two players to still be with Victory after having been part of its initial intake. He is at right back, even though he also operated with great success as a holding midfielder during the first championship season.

Alongside Muscat in the middle of the back four are two stalwarts of the early years, Rody Vargas and Adrian Leijer.

The latter was in the first batch of under-20 players signed by Merrick for the 2005-06 season and, aside from a couple of years in England after signing with Premier League club Fulham, he was with Victory until earlier this month, when he agreed on a move to China.

Vargas was signed by Merrick in the second season from the Victorian Premier League powerhouse Melbourne Knights, and quickly made the transition to the elite domestic level. A dependable, disciplined stopper, Vargas was a late bloomer and eventually was capped by his country as a result of his A-League performances.

The left back slot is occupied by the dynamic Ivorian Adama Traore. Quick, aggressive and hugely popular with the fans, Traore added an extra attacking dimension with his overlapping runs from defence. He won the Victory medal in 2014 and then left, first for Portuguese club Guimaraes before moving on to FC Basel in Switzerland.

The midfield features a tremendous blend in the consistency and passing ability of Scotsman Grant Brebner, the aggression and hard running of current Socceroo Mark Milligan and the mercurial skills of Carlos Hernandez, the Costa Rican playmaker who became such a fan favourite.

Brebner arrived for Victory’s second season and formed part of the midfield with Muscat and Fred, arguably the best triumvirate the A-League has had.

The Edinburgh native spent several years as a youngster with Manchester United before making his mark in the English championship with Reading and then returning to Scotland, where he captained his home-town club Hibs. Good on the ball, professional and consistent, Brebner ensured things kept ticking over in the centre of the park in two championship-winning sides.

Milligan, an Asian Cup winner and sometime Australia captain, needs little introduction to the current Victory audience. The box-to-box midfielder is Victory’s club captain and is a leader both on and off the field. He has been part of the Socceroos squad for the past three World Cups, and played in Australia’s opener against Chile in Brazil last year.

Hernandez was a cult figure at Victory, and with good reason. The ever-smiling Costa Rican always looked as though he was carrying an extra kilo or two but it didn’t prevent him stamping his authority on numerous games. Hernandez won the Johnny Warren Medal for the best player in the A-League in the 2009-10 season and was always a threat from distance with his prodigious shooting, which netted him several goals, often at critical times.

Up front Victory can boast a glittering array of talent, spearheaded by Thompson. There is little to be said about the veteran striker who, at 36, is still performing at the highest level for his club, notching Victory’s late equaliser in Adelaide a week ago.

For 10ten years now he has terrorised defences, setting goalscoring records as he goes. His five in a grand final may never be matched. He is, simply, the best-known player in the league.

Alongside Thompson in this team, as he was in Victory’s most glorious days, is Danny Allsopp.

Allsopp’s return to Australia was not easy. His first season with Victory was difficult and he struggled to score. But Merrick kept the faith, and Allsopp rewarded him in spades. Tall, powerful and quick, Allsopp ran the channels, worked hard and drew defenders, creating space for Thompson. He also finished well, taking out the Golden Boot as the league’s leading scorer in 2006-07, as well as winning the Victory Medal that year. He was as big a part of Victory’s championship years as anyone else.

The third striker is a player who wasn’t at Victory very long – just two years – but he made a huge impression and rescued his career during his time with the navy blues.

Robbie Kruse had made a big impression early with his local club Brisbane Roar but after that bright beginning had rather fallen off the rails. ErnieMerrick saw his potential, signed him, and the rest is history. Kruse immediately made an impact, scoring a hat-trick against Perth Glory early in his Victory career, and he never looked back.

Holger Osieck picked him for the Asian Cup squad in 2011 on the back of his Victory performances, and he eventually moved to Germany, first to Fortuna Duesseldorf and now Bayer Leverkusen. SadlyOften plagued by injury, Kruse remains a huge talent who, at 26, can still hit the heights predicted for him. He is still a crucial part of the Socceroos mix when fit.

On the bench are five players who have been big performers for the club. Nathan Coe is yet to win anything with Victory but has established himself as the club’s current No. 1number one.

Leigh Broxham is a stalwart of the team, having started with the club as a teenage gear steward before being offered a professional contract in the second season. The diminutive utility has filled in in numerous positions in midfield or defencefor this team and remains a very important figure for Victory. Along with Coe, he started in the 2-1 victory over Central Coast on Friday night.

Marco Rojas’ time in Melbourne was short, but very sweet. The Kiwi youngster made an enormous impression in the two yearshe was at Victory, scoring 15 goals in 50 appearances. A quick, skilful winger, Rojas linked up superbly with ArchieThompson and was good enough to win the Johnny Warren Medalas A-League player in the 2012-13 season, beating off the challenge of no less a man than Italian superstar Alessandro del Piero.

Rojas moved to German Bundesliga club Stuttgart in 2013, but has failed to make an impression so far on the tougher European stage.

Also on the bench are two of the often unsung heroes, midfielder Tommy Pondeljak and defender Matthew Kemp. Both made the jump from the NSL to the A-League in its early days, and both came to Victory from other clubs – Pondeljak from Central Coast Mariners, Kemp from Adelaide United.

The latter was a speedy, consistent full-back who could play on the right or the left and always added an attacking threat. Pondeljak was a skilful attacking player whose greatest moment in a navy blue shirt came in the 2009 grand final, when he scored the only goal of the game as Victory defeated Adelaide to win its second championship in three years.

*The team of the decade was selected by a panel made up Socceroos coach and former Melbourne Victory boss Ange Postecoglou, ex-Victory football operations manager (and former Socceroo) Gary Cole, Fox Sports pundit and ex-Socceroo and Premier League winger Robbie Slater and Fairfax Media writer Michael Lynch, who has covered Victory since its inception.


Goalkeeper: Michael Theo

Defenders: Kevin Muscat, Adrian Leijer, Rodrigo Vargas, Adama Traore;

Midfielders: Grant Brebner, Mark Milligan, Carlos Hernandez;

Forwards: Robbie Kruse, Danny Allsopp, Archie Thompson.

Subs:  Nathan Coe, Leigh Broxham, Marco Rojas, Matthew Kemp, Tommy Pondeljak.



The Canberra Times