Victory ready for another Big Blue

Ben McKay

Melbourne Victory will carry no fear into Saturday's semi-final with Sydney FC despite their record A-League losing run to the Sky Blues.

Victory have lost each of the last seven meetings with Graham Arnold's side; the longest run of defeats to any club in their history.

The closest they've come to defeating Sydney in the last two seasons was last year's grand final, when the Sky Blues needed penalties to lift the A-League trophy.

Victory's record is at odds with their recent form, which has improved markedly as the season's gone on.

Since December, Victory have beaten every other A-League club, and grew their winning run at AAMI Park to eight by edging Adelaide United 2-1 in Sunday's elimination final.

Coach Kevin Muscat says Victory have been steadily growing their confidence in the run-in to the finals, and won't be intimidated at Allianz Stadium.

"We're ready," he said.

"We've been building and getting stronger and stronger.

"If you didn't believe me in the last few weeks when I have been saying that, well, you witnessed that tonight.

"We've been building, getting stronger and we're ready and we'll be stronger again next week."

Besart Berisha's goal was a sensational way to reach the last four.

The Kosovo international scored an 89th minute overhead kick from Kosta Barbarouses' cross that had to be seen to be believed.

In his fourth season at Victory, Muscat said he'd stopped being surprised when the A-League's all-time leading scorer produced moments of magic.

"He's a winner," he said.

"He wants to win whatever he does and whatever he's doing. When the big moments are decided he wants to be involved.

"Tonight he got reward for his perseverance because when he did get his opportunity he stuck it away."

It was also a goal that might never have happened.

Muscat had called striking understudy Kenny Athiu to the touchline and looked as though he was preparing the 24-year-old to come on at Berisha's expense with extra-time looming.

The former Socceroo denied Berisha was about to be hooked.

"We were preparing all the subs for extra time," he said.

"I really had a belief, a strong belief that the players out there would carve out an opportunity.

"Bes didn't have too many all night and probably the most difficult chance he's had in a long time, he's found an unbelievable finish."