Sydney FC 'up for the taking' in A-League semifinal - Rhys Williams
Forget Sydney FC's silverware and years of domination over their Big Blue rivals, Melbourne Victory believe the Sky Blues are there "for the taking" in Saturday's semifinal.
Fresh from their defeat of Adelaide United to reach the penultimate weekend of the A-League season, Rhys Williams is confident of snapping the Victory's two-year losing run to the Sky Blues.
"Every time we play them, it's not like they've thumped us," he said. "They haven't played us off the park.
"It's just been about them with chances that they've taken that we didn't on the day.
"They're up for the taking."
Williams' views are, naturally, in sharp contrast to those coming out of the Sydney FC camp.
On Monday, Sky Blues captain Alex Brosque began the inevitable mind games when he said their seven-game winning run would be "playing on the minds" of Victory.
And while the results can't be disputed, there's a certain credence to Williams' train of thought.
The Victory had more of the ball and plenty of chances in their round 27 meeting with Sydney FC, a 1-0 loss.
On balance, Kevin Muscat's side edged last year's Grand Final too -- an occasion that needed penalties to separate the two sides.
At some point, does it have to balance out?
"The three games this season we've played some of our best stuff against them. We just haven't finished them off," Williams said.
"Hopefully fourth time lucky."
Come Saturday night, Victory will have one big advantage in their line-up: Besart Berisha.
The finals specialist issued a reminder of his status as the best big-game player in the league with an 89th-minute overhead kick to seal Victory's progression to the last four.
It was the eighth straight finals match that Berisha has scored in -- including three Grand Finals.
Not since Tony Popovic's Wanderers beat Berisha's Brisbane Roar, managed by Mike Mulvey, in the 2013 semifinals has the Kosovo international drawn a blank in a post-season match.
Williams said the goal epitomised Berisha.
"That's just him," he said. "You know if there's one man that's going to pop up and do it, it's him.
"He works hard. He's all for the team and it's nice for him to get the goal.
"The best strikers in the world, they could be quiet all game and then they score a winner like that.
"That's how football works and long may it continue."