FOOTBALL

Victory thrashes Mariners with 4-1 win

Melbourne Victory got the emphatic A-League win they wanted against Central Coast but Besart Berisha will have to wait for his record-breaking goal.

In sweltering conditions at AAMI Park, Victory moved to second on the A-League ladder with a dominant 4-1 win over the Mariners.

Kevin Muscat's side took a 1-0 lead into halftime then pressed home their advantage as the game opened up, with goals to James Donachie and Marco Rojas, who found the net twice in two minutes.

Trent Buhagiar made the most of a rare Victory lapse to beat advancing keeper Lawrence Thomas with 89 minutes played, but it was little consolation for the visitors.

Berisha appeared to have passed former Victory teammate Archie Thompson to become the all-time leading goal scorer in the A-League in the 28th minute.

But his close-range shot was ruled to have gone in off Mariners defender Jake McGing. The Albanian sharpshooter was a constant threat but couldn't find the net before he was subbed off in the 76th minute.

Victory dominated the early going and forced several excellent saves from Central Coast keeper Paul Izzo, none better than his sharp effort to deny Fahid Ben Khalfallah.

With the temperature hovering around 36 degrees, play stopped for a drinks break midway through the first half and Victory went ahead shortly after the restart.

The Mariners didn't venture forward too often, but they came close to equalising in the 39th minute.

Thomas parried a powerful Fabio Ferreira shot into the path of Roy O'Donovan, but the Mariners' front man put his shot into the side netting.

Victory doubled their advantage when Donachie found space to head home a well- taken James Troisi free kick in the 50th minute.

Ben Khalfallah troubled the Mariners all night. It was his cross that McGing turned into his own goal in the first half and he set up Rojas goals in the 58th and 59th minutes, the second assist a sublime long ball that fell perfectly into his path.

AAP