Five big Berisha run-ins with rivals

The Melbourne Victory and former Brisbane striker has been called everything from an "Albanian salesman" to a "f****** gypsy", but he doesn't mind a confrontation and has had plenty to say to opponents himself. The World Game identifies five of Berisha's most dramatic clashes.

Besart Berisha

Striker Besart Berisha while playing for Brisbane Source: Getty Images

1. Berisha invites Bosschaart to sort it out under the grandstand

The game between Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium in January, 2012, exploded after Berisha had scored a late goal to give the Roar a come-from-behind, 2-1 win.

At fulltime, an incensed Berisha ran towards Sydney FC defender Pascal Bosschaart, grabbing his arm and suggesting he follow him down the race and under the grandstand.

Players and club officials intervened to keep the two players apart as Berisha, with his shirt off by now, kept trying to get to Bosschaart. This led to other players pushing and shoving.

Berisha and teammates Ivan Franjic and Erick Paartalu had been involved in a running battle with Bosschaart throughout the game. It later emerged that Bosschaart had allegedly said something derogatory to Berisha about his family in a previous match, which Bosschaart strenuously denied.

Brisbane's then coach, Ange Postecoglou, said afterwards: "We do a lot of things really well in our game, but fighting isn’t one of them. We should leave that to other sports as far as I’m concerned."

2. Bouzanis calls Berisha a "f****** gypsy" as Melbourne derby erupts

Victory had come from 1-0 down and were about to have a controversial goal to go 2-1 up confirmed by the referee late in last Saturday's game against Melbourne City at Etihad Stadium when Bouzanis unleashed on Berisha.

Bouzanis's verbal barrage ended with him calling Berisha a "f****** gypsy".

Earlier in the game, Bouzanis had saved a Berisha penalty. Berisha later scored from general play, to make it 1-1. When the late own goal by City defender Manny Muscat, with Berisha not being called for offside in the vicinity, was allowed, Berisha celebrated enthusiastically in Bouzanis's face.

Bouzanis faced a Football Federation Australia disciplinary committee hearing on Wednesday night and was suspended for five matches.

3. Ante Covic accuses the "Albanian salesman" of diving for a penalty

There was very little or maybe even no contact when Perth Glory goalkeeper Ante Covic challenged for the ball and Victory's Berisha went down in the game at AAMI Park in December, 2015.

But the referee bought it and awarded a penalty, which led to an incensed Covic giving Berisha a verbal barrage.

Berisha calmly converted the opportunity and after the game finished in a 1-1 draw a still heated-up Covic gave his side of the story in a post-match interview.

"I got a yellow card and a penalty against me for absolutely nothing," Covic said. "You can get the honesty from me, or you can go to the Albanian salesman (Berisha) and get his version."


4. Berisha gives his own teammate a serve!

The game between Brisbane and Central Coast in February, 2012, had just ended with the Roar winning 2-0 on the road and players and coaching staff from both sides were shaking hands and chatting in typical scenes out on the field.

That was, until Berisha came across Roar teammate James Meyer, who had come on as a second-half substitute.

Berisha started manhandling Meyer and going off at him and Meyer was giving it back to him in spades when Roar captain Matt Smith intervened to separate the pair and hold Berisha back while Thomas Broich sensibly walked Meyer away.

Brisbane coach Ange Postecoglou could later be seen admonishing Berisha over the incident.

It was subsequently reported the incident had apparently occurred because Berisha felt Meyer had not followed the game plan, and that Berisha had been heard to say on the field that Meyer had "disrespected" him.

None of this was confirmed by either player, but Berisha said: "It's not kindergarten, this is football and to be successful we have to be passionate like that. Sometimes it's not a time to be friendly when you are playing."

5. Prone Berisha lashes out with boot at upright Durante

Berisha had gone down after being hit in the head by Wellington Phoenix defender Ben Sigmund's elbow as they went up to contest a ball at Westpac Stadium in April, 2016.

He was lying on the ground getting treatment when Wellington captain Andrew Durante, perhaps feeling Berisha was dragging things out, leaned over him and said something.

Berisha lashed out at Durante with his boot and was red-carded while still on the ground.

Durante later tweeted a response to suggestions he had tried to provoke Berisha, saying: "Was actually being friendly and asking if he needed help to side line".

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4 min read
Published 8 February 2017 at 10:46pm
By Greg Prichard