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Mar 27, 2012

Berisha, Adnan key for Roar: Paartalu

They are key pieces in Brisbane Roar's A-League championship puzzle.

But that's where the similarities end between prolific Albanian striker Besart Berisha and Bahraini defender Mohamed Adnan.

Teammate Erik Paartalu puts it best.

"Mohamed is calm and collected. Besart is not," he laughed.

Much has rightly been made of German import Thomas Broich's impact for the Roar ahead of Saturday's major semi-final first leg against arch rivals Central Coast at Suncorp Stadium.

But Paartalu reckons the Roar simply cannot do without odd couple Berisha and Adnan as they look to seal back-to-back A-League titles.

"Losing someone like Luke DeVere and Kosta Barbarouses - apart from Matt McKay - they are probably the two who hurt us most when we lost them (since last season)," he said.

"Now Mohamed and Berisha are very important to our team - it's great having those guys around us.

"Berisha is just banging in goals for fun. I think he has scored half our goals so he has taken a burden off everyone else.

"And Mohamed is a calm influence back there. Hopefully that can continue, their form into the finals."

A knee injury ensured Adnan missed the Roar's last round 2-1 win over Gold Coast United - but he has overcome much bigger obstacles.

Adnan narrowly avoided being detained at his native Bahrain after taking part in mass protests against the government in early 2011 and may face more repercussions upon his return to the Persian Gulf nation. Adnan - who has 79 caps for Bahrain - relocated last year to Brisbane with his wife and young son and was quickly snapped up by the Roar.

"He had a tough journey to get here but he is finding life a little easier now," Paartalu said of Adnan.

"He has taken time to adjust but geez he has done such a good job in the time given."

Then there's Berisha.

One way or another the former Hamburg striker has made headlines in his A-League debut season.

He was suspended after breaching the national code of conduct for challenging Sydney defender Pascal Bosschaart to a post-match fight in January.

Even his teammates don't emerge unscathed - to date, he has had on-field scraps with James Meyer and Issey Nakajima-Farran.

Oh, and he has also scored a record-equalling 19 goals this season including four alone against a hapless Adelaide United.

"Berisha is a loveable guy. He is very passionate," Paartalu said.

"We love having him because he fights for everything in our team - that's what you want."

And Paartalu believed the pair were only going to get better.

"There are positive signs for the guys we brought in but it always takes a couple of seasons for everyone to settle in," he said.

"Keeping this team together is probably the most important thing at the moment."

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