Melbourne Heart 1 Brisbane Roar 2
By Roy Hay
Melbourne Heart lost a goal in the last minute of regulation time to concede a two-one home defeat to league leader Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park on Sunday night in front of 7,034 fans.
With virtually a full squad to pick from, minus only long term injured players Brendan Hamill and Kristian Sarkies, Heart coach John van’t Schip elected to start Socceroo striker John Aloisi in place of in-form youngster Nick Kalmar and leave club skipper Simon Colosimo on the bench for the match against league leader Brisbane Roar.
Aziz Behich and Adrian Zahra held their spots.
The vote in favour of youth on the flanks might appear like a considerable gamble, but the youngsters had earned their places through excellent performances in recent weeks.
The first half was of very high quality and the league leader was forced to play in front of the home defence.
Heart pressed Roar high up the pitch and Rutger Worm had a field day out on the left with a series of crosses following good runs at Brisbane defenders.
The breakthrough came on the other wing as Heart took the lead after 11 minutes with a delightful goal. Adrian Zahra put Michael Marrone away down the right, but the defender had to make a lot of ground before firing over a cross which Gerald Sibon finished with an effort which came off keeper Michael Theoklitos on its way into the net.
Luke de Vere came closest to scoring for the Roar with a grounder which Clint Bolton stopped at full stretch and then regathered before the attacker could reach it.
As has happened several times this season, Heart could not maintain the form of the first half after the interval.
Too often the ball was given away and this enabled the Roar midfielders Massimo Murdocca, Thomas Broich and skipper Matt McKay to springboard a series of dangerous attacks.
Aloisi, Josip Skoko and Gerald Sibon all had to be withdrawn at various times through injury, exhaustion or for tactical reasons.
Brisbane dominated the second half and got an equaliser after 65 minutes. A good passing move involved Broich, McKay and Kosta Barbarouses who gave Bolton no chance.
Seven minutes later Costa Rican striker Jean Carlos Solorzano, Marrone and Bolton collided in the penalty area.
It looked like all three were trying to play the ball, but referee Ryan Shepheard was very close to the action and gave Brisbane a penalty kick.
Ivan Franjic drove it hard down the centre but Bolton stuck out a leg to deflect the ball away.
The Heart mounted a number of quick counter-attacks with Aziz Behich putting one effort into the side netting and Worm having a good chance to score as well, it always seemed that the Roar was finishing the stronger.
So it proved, though the denoument came very late.
The winner came in the last minute of normal time when Broich, Franjic and Solorzano cut through the defence and the ball came off the post for the last of these to score the decisive goal.
It was probably a fair result on the balance of play, but as John van’t Schip said afterwards if Heart had taken the chances it created in the first half it would have made the Brisbane recovery very difficult.
‘In the second half we could not press high enough up the pitch and dropped deeper. We gave the ball away too often. We need to play the whole game at the level of the first half.’
Ange Postecoglou said his side had the self-belief to continue to play its game feeling that this would give them a chance of winning.
Sunday, 14 November 2010
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Local kick-off time: 5.00pm local
Referee: Ryan SHEPHEARD
Assistant referees: James NICOLOPOULOS and Luke BRENNAN
Fourth official: Alex AZCURRA
Melbourne Heart squad: 1. Clint BOLTON, 2. Michael MARRONE, 5. Michael BEAUCHAMP, 6. Matt THOMPSON, 7. Rutger WORM, 9. Gerald SIBON (4. Simon COLOSIMO 68’), 10. Wayne SRHOJ, 15. John ALOISI (19. Eli BABALJ 55’), 16. Aziz BEHICH, 20. Josip SKOKO (11. Alex TERRA 61’), 24. Adrian ZAHRA
Unused substitutes: 12. Peter ZOIS
Yellow cards: Josip SKOKO 53’, Wayne SHROJ 73’, Matt THOMPSON 77
Red cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS, 2. Matt SMITH, 3. Luke DEVERE, 4. Shane STEFANNUTTO (5. Ivan FRANJIC 46’), 6. Erik PAARTALU (17. Mitch NICHOLS 64’), 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 9. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO (14. Rocky VISCONTE 91’), 15. Matt McKAY, 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Milan SUSAK.
Unused substitutes: 20. Andrew REDMAYNE
Yellow cards: . Jean Carlos SOLORZANO 91’
Red cards: Nil