Victory player Besart Berisha kicks a penalty goal with his famed intensity. (AAP: Julian Smith)
Besart Berisha became the A-League’s sole all-time record scorer and Melbourne Victory kept up the heat on leaders Sydney FC with a madcap 4-2 defeat of Newcastle Jets.
Berisha buried a first-half penalty to set Victory on their way at Simonds Stadium in Geelong before Marco Rojas doubled Victory’s advantage with a close-range volley.
The title aspirants conceded a long range shot to Lei Lei Ma and a deflected effort from Wayne Brown in the second half, but goals to Fahid Ben Khalfallah and James Troisi kept the result out of Newcastle’s reach.
The win keeps second-placed Victory within seven points of Sydney FC, with a game in hand to reduce the gap further.
There was plenty of action after Berisha’s opener but the night still belonged to the Albanian.
Berisha overtook former teammate Archie Thompson with his 91st A-League goal, scoring from the spot when Ben Khalfallah’s cross brushed John Koutroumbis’ arm on 29 minutes.
Preparing for the penalty with his famed intensity, Berisha crashed his spot kick to gloveman Jack Duncan’s right before sliding away on his knees to celebrate the milestone.
The 31-year-old’s strike was his 10th of the season, returning him to the top of the golden boot standings, alongside Melbourne City’s Bruno Fornaroli.
Rojas moved to nine goals for the season shortly after, arriving at the back post to athletically volley home Troisi’s centred ball.
After a desperately poor opening half-hour, where both sides failed to produce any opportunities of note, Victory were suddenly two goals clear.
The Jets were in danger of collapsing when Ben Khalfallah, who earlier saw a goal disallowed due to a foul in the build-up, scored on the hour mark by sidefooting a volley from Rojas’ cross into Duncan, who fumbled over the line.
But within a minute, Ma found enough space to strike home through congestion for his first A-League goal since joining the Jets.
Brown too had success trying his luck from outside the box when a deflection off Carl Valeri’s back left Lawrence Thomas with no chance.
Mark Jones’ side came home strong, and might have had a penalty of their own when a close range pass hit Valeri’s arm.
In truth, anything but a Victory win would have been a robbery, and Troisi’s own drought-breaking goal ensured their fourth straight win.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat said he was disappointed with the second half lapses but delighted with his attacking potency after a 4-1 win over Central Coast four days earlier.
“We had to be patient … and we were,” he said.
“I thought we were clinical as well.
“All in all, very pleased. It’s another win. These last two games have been very good for us in front of goal.”
Jets coach Mark Jones could not contain his disappointment with the penalty call.
“A wrong decision made and we were 1-0 down … have a look at the replay,” he said.
“It struck him on the point of the shoulder.
“But to concede four goals in the manner in which we conceded them was not good enough.”