Brisbane beats Victory to stay 2nd in A-league


SYDNEY (AP) -- Brisbane overcame a double by former Leeds and Liverpool star Harry Kewell to beat the Melbourne Victory 3-2 and to keep up a close pursuit of Central Coast at the top of Australian football's A-League on Saturday.

Kewell equalized in the ninth minute after Brisbane scored through Albanian striker Besart Berisha, then pulled back a goal in the 50th to cut Brisbane's lead to 3-2.

The Victory came close to equalizing again when a late Carlos Hernadez volley struck the crossbar but suffered its seventh loss of the season, dropping three points out of the top-six playoff zone.

Central Coast earlier beat Wellington 2-0 to break a two-match losing streak and to stay in first place five points clear of Brisbane.

Kewell scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season to keep the Victory in touch with Brisbane. Berisha had opened the scoring in the first minute, taking a sharp pass from Thomas Broich and forcing his way past four defenders before beating Ante Covic with a firm shot.

Kewell crashed home the equalizer from the top of the area in the ninth minute but Brisbane regained the lead when Matt Smith and Ivan Franjic worked the ball to Broich in the center. Broich found Henrique with a through ball to the right flank and Berisha was on hand to blast home the cross for his 13th goal of the season.

Brisbane sealed the match with an Henrique penalty in the 38th after Ubay Luzardo brought down Erik Paartalu.

Kewell completed his double five minutes into the second spell when he latched onto a wayward pass from Broich, turned Mohamed Adnan and beat Michael Theoklitos with a low left-footer. He was then benched in the 76th.

"The Victory came here to have a go at us and we didn't really cope with it too well," Brisbane coach Ange Postecoglou said. "I thought Harry was very good for them. With their attacking threats they are always dangerous."

A powerful strike from teenager Tomas Rogic and a headed goal from Patrick Zwaanswijk gave Central Coast a 2-0 home win over Wellington, its 13th win in 21 matches this season.

The Mariners dominated in the first half with Rogic, midfielder Michael McGlinchey and English striker John Sutton, in his A-League debut, all threatening early.

Rogic scored first with a curling shot from the edge of the area and Central Coast sealed the win with Zwaanswijk's sixth goal of the season seven minutes from fulltime.

"I thought the football performance tonight was first class. It's great to see us play like that again," Mariners coach Graham Arnold said.

Adam Hughes and Billy Mehmet scored for Perth, which beat Newcastle 2-0 to end the Jets' three-match winning streak. The win lifted Perth into third place four points behind Brisbane and a point ahead of fourth-placed Wellington, which has dropped two spots in the last two weeks.

The Melbourne Heart moved to fifth with a 1-0 win over Gold Coast on Friday and Sydney FC rose to sixth with a 2-1 win over Adelaide.