Melbourne Heart 1 Gold Coast United 1
By Roy Hay
Melbourne Heart and Gold Coast United shared the points in a one-all draw at AAMI Park on Wednesday night in front of 5187 fans, even though the game was played with the Open tennis in full swing next door.
Coaches John van’t Schip and Miron Bleiberg agreed it was a game neither side deserved to lose, but neither did enough to win.
Heart rested Josip Skoko and Rutger Worm, while John Aloisi started on the bench with Nick Kalmar and Dean Heffernan.
Gold Coast was without Jason Culina, Steve Pantelidis, Taj Minniecon and Joel Porter, but had Peter Perchtold, formerly with Stuttgart in the Bundesliga, starting his second game.
Heart went a goal up in 17 minutes when a Michael Beauchamp throw on the right was headed on by Kristian Sarkies to Gerald Sibon who knocked the ball into the danger area.
Alex Terra reacted quickest and nicked the ball over Glen Moss then followed up to make sure the ball went inside rather than outside the post.
That lifted the home crowd and Heart had some good chances to add to its lead.
Aziz Behich’s cross was just too high for Terra, then another cross of his flew beyond Matt Thompson as he came down the opposite flank.
Shane Smeltz, back at the Gold Coast after his spell in Turkey, and Bruce Djite were threatening in counter-attacks.
Heart had one of the sweetest passing movements seen in this year’s A-league which took the ball from deep in their own half to the edge of the visiting box, but the final cross was headed clear and Bas van den Brink lifted it forward to Bruce Djite wide on the left.
The striker worked his way infield and when Michael Marrone tried to close him down, Djite fired the ball through his legs and past Clint Bolton for the equalizer in the 40th minute.
Gerald Sibon had an opportunity for Heart from a free kick but found Glen Moss on his toes to save.
So it was one-all at the interval and the coaches threw on attacking players as both sides went for all three points.
Andrew Barisic replaced the tiring Perchtold and John Aloisi came on for Kristian Sarkies.
Michael Marrone’s long throw enabled Alex Terra to try another of his bicycle kicks but this time Moss was well positioned to save.
Nick Kalmar and Dean Heffernan appeared for Heart with Sibon and Terra making way, at least in part to save the latter two for the derby against Melbourne Victory on Saturday.
In the last ten minutes Gold Coast poured forward and Smeltz, Barisic and Djite, before he too was substituted in 86 minutes, had chances to win the game, but the Heart defence with Clint Bolton in great form, held on.
John van’t Schip thought it was two points lost rather than one gained and bemoaned the fact that Heart did not hold on to the ball, giving it away quickly and putting the team under pressure.
Miron Bleiberg said it was a fast end-to-end game which both sides tried to win right to the final whistle, which was blown by Strebre Delovski, making a welcome return to A-League refereeing after a long spell out with injury.
He kept the game flowing by playing advantage whenever he could and only booked two players in what was a highly competitive match.
Melbourne Heart 1 (Alex TERRA 17’) Gold Coast United 1 (Bruce DJITE 40’)
Wednesday, 19 January 2010
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Local kick-off: 8:00pm
Referee: Strebre Delovski
Assistant referee: Shaun Evans Ashley Beecham
Fourth official: James Nicolopoulos
Melbourne Heart: 1.Clint BOLTON, 2.Michael MARRONE, 4.Simon COLOSIMO, 5.Michael BEAUCHAMP, 6.Matt THOMPSON, 8.Kristian SARKIES (15.John ALOISI 65’), 9.Gerald SIBON (22.Nick KALMAR 78’), 10.Wayne SRHOJ, 11.Alex TERRA (23.Dean HEFFERNAN 78’), 16.Aziz BEHICH, 25.Adrian ZAHRA
Unused substitutes: 12.Peter ZOIS
Yellow cards: Michael BEAUCHAMP 58’
Red cards: Nil
Gold Coast United: 1.Glen MOSS 3.Michael THWAITE, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 11.Bruce DJITE, 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 16.Kristian REES, 19.Andrew BARISIC, 21.Golgol MEBRAHTU, 22.Adama TRAORE, 24.John CURTIS, 33.Peter PERCHTOLD
Unused substitutes: 29.Zac ANDERSON, 30,Jerrad TYSON,
Yellow cards: Peter PERCHTOLD 43’
Red cards: Nil