Marking the A-League’s greatest ever goalscorer on debut would seem a baptism of fire for most defenders, however Sydney FC’s new Dutch centre-back wasn’t overly impressed by Besart Berisha, suggesting the Melbourne Victory striker was “nothing special”.
The 28-year-old Jordy Buijs played his first competitive game in more than four months in Thursday night’s 2-1 win over the Sky Blues’ oldest rivals – and it took little time for him to spark a feud with this season’s top marksman.
It began with a ninth minute shoving incident that triggered a heated response from the Albanian forward, who spent the remaining 81 minutes largely isolated at the arrowhead of Victory’s attack.
The former Eredivisie regular was part of a central defensive pairing given the task of nullifying the threat of Berisha. Having man-marked him for 90 minutes, Buijs revealed the performance of his opponent didn’t meet the hype.
“I think he is one of 11 players so he is nothing special, I think,” Buijs said.
“The only thing that he has is a great name here in Australia and I think we [refuted] this. How do I say this, we got him out of the game. This was a priority for me and Wilkie – my friend next to me – so he did nothing today.”
Instead, it was the mobility of Victory’s wingers and attacking midfielders that caused Sydney FC the most problems on Thursday night.
Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Marco Rojas and James Troisi combined for the first goal with a slick passing move and continued to threaten, forcing the Sky Blues to alter their gameplan after the half-hour mark.
Right back Aaron Calver was deployed deeper and instructed not to support in attack, allowing him to focus on limiting the threat of Khalfallah.
“They put some good pressure in the beginning in the first part of the first half and we had a little problem there, that’s why the goal was coming in the first part of the first half.
“After that we needed to change something, we had to stick a plan and after this goal we got the control again and we made it. We had one chance, one goal,” Buijs said.
The former NAC Breda and De Graafschap defender was forced to play a far more physical match than in the Dutch Eredivisie in a contest his coach described as a “dog fight”.
“Here we are fighting more and I like to fight so for me it’s not a problem,” Buijs said.
“Next week we can play more football because we have the team to play good football and today we had something different from the game. First we need to fight and after this we can play football after the game.”
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