Melbourne Victory 2 Melbourne Heart 2
By Roy Hay
Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart shared the points in a two-all draw in the third A-League match between the teams in Heart’s inaugural season before 32.231 fans, the largest crowd ever to witness a game between two Victorian teams.
They were entertained by a hugely competitive match, four excellent goals and numerous near things.
The downside was a number of violent challenges, one of which by Kevin Muscat left young Adrian Zahra with what appears to be a serious injury and resulted in a straight red card for the Victory skipper.
This comes in his first game back after serving a suspension following his previous sending off.
Grant Brebner was lucky to escape sanction for another serious tackle, while Josip Skoko of Heart was cautioned but might also have seen red for a second offence.
Etihad stadium pitch looked in good order, despite pop concerts and other events since the last game was played here.
Victory was without Archie Thompson, Surat Sukha, Adrian Liejer, and Robbie Kruse, while Heart recalled Josip Skoko. Michael Marrone was not in the squad.
After a high tempo and quite bruising opening, the home team took the lead.
In the 11th minute, Victory came down the right and the overlapping Matthew Kemp found Carlos Hernandez with a short pass.
The Costa Rican international returned the ball with the outside of his foot and Kemp was in the clear.
His cross gave Danny Allsopp a simple diving header for the first goal.
Heart nearly hit back when Michael Beauchamp sent Aziz Behich clear on the wing, but Gerald Sibon miscued the resultant cross.
Behich had a hand in two more opportunities for the visitors, but John Aloisi put the first one wide and Sibon headed over from directly in front of goal.
Victory extended its lead after 32 minutes.
Josip Skoko brought down Marvin Angulo about 30 metres from goal and right in the centre.
Kevin Muscat came up from the back and told Carlos Hernandez where to place his free kick.
He then surged into the wall disrupting it and Hernandez fired it through the gap and past the despairing dive of Clint Bolton.
It seemed that Victory would go to the break with its lead intact, but deep into injury time, Heart mounted a last attack and John Aloisi just managed to squeeze the ball out to Alex Terra as he fell.
The Brazilian magician performed another of his trade-mark overhead kicks and Aloisi regained his balance in time to knock the ball home.
Heart now had the momentum and deserved equalised early in the second half.
Josip Skoko’s 51st minute free kick found Simon Colosimo whose header hit the bar.
Wayne Shroj knocked the ball back in, Michael Beauchamp did a Terra overhead kick and Aloisi finished it off.
The former Socceroo striker celebrated in front of the Heart fans.
A series of cautions and substitutions disrupted the rhythm of the second half, plus the Muscat sending off in 79 minutes.
Nick Kalmar replaced the injured Adrian Zahra.
Though Simon Colosimo argued that Heart tried to draw the ten-man Victory team, and in particular their forwards, out of position to help create openings, it seemed that the recent heavy schedule had caught up with his colleagues and the game ended with no more goals.
Ernie Merrick felt that the senior players acquitted themselves well for Victory, but some of the youngsters were affected by the occasion. ‘We should have played better football, but I am not disappointed by the effort,’ he said.
John van’t Schip said ‘We should have won the game. We needed to win. In every other way we did what we set out to do.’
He was very disappointed by the tackle on Zahra, which he described as heart-breaking for the young player.
Melbourne Victory 2 (Danny ALLSOPP 11’, Carlos HERNANDEZ 32’) Melbourne Heart 2 (John ALOISI 45 + 1’, 52’)
Saturday, 22 January 2011
Local kick-off: 7:00pm
Referee: Chris BEATH
Assistant referee: Luke BRENNAN and James NICOLOPOULOS
Fourth official: Lucien LAVERDURE
Melbourne Victory: 1. Michael PETKOVIC, 2. Kevin MUSCAT, 3. Mate DUGANDZIC (15. Tom PONDELJAK 56’), 7. Matthew KEMP (17. Matthew FOSCHINI 78’), 8. Grant BREBNER, 11. Marvin ANGULO (9. RICARDINHO 66’), 12. Rodrigo VARGAS, 13. Diogo FERREIRA, 14. Billy CELESKI, 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ, 18. Danny ALLSOPP
Unused substitutes: 20. Sebastian MATTEI
Yellow cards: Daniel ALLSOPP 38’, Diogo FEERIERA 42’, Matthew KEMP 51’, Marvin ANGULO 54’, Kevin MUSCAT 60’, Carlos HERNANDEZ 89, Michael PETKOVIC 90 + 2’
Red cards: Kevin MUSCAT 81’
Melbourne Heart: 1.Clint BOLTON, 4.Simon COLOSIMO, 5.Michael BEAUCHAMP, 6.Matt THOMPSON, 9.Gerald SIBON, 10.Wayne SRHOJ, 11.Alex TERRA, 15.John ALOISI, 16.Aziz BEHICH (7.Rutger WORM 72’), 20.Josip SKOKO, 25.Adrian ZAHRA (22.Nick KALMAR 81’)
Unused substitutes: 8.Kristian SARKIES, 12.Peter ZOIS
Yellow cards: Josip SKOKO 48’, Matt THOMPSON 75’
Red cards: NIL