Melbourne Heart 2 Adelaide United 0
by Roy HayGoals five minutes into each half gave Melbourne Heart its victory over a disappointing Adelaide United at AAMI Park on Friday night. Heart went into its crucial match with close to a full strength line-up. Young Jeremy Walker held his place at full back, but Golgol Mebratu, whose body is struggling to cope with the physicality of the A-League, dropped out of the squad with Nick Kalmar coming in. Adelaide missed Bruce Djite, Nigel Boogaard, Marcelo Carrusca and Fabio Ferriera. Their loss was greater and more obvious, though Adelaide coach John Kosmina thought that defensive mistakes rather than a difference in quality between the sides accounted for the result.
Heart needed an early goal to settle its nerves and, after David Williams had gone close with one thunderous shot, the breakthrough came in the 5th minute. Heart won a corner on the right which was delivered short to skipper Fred. His high cross into the area was met by a flying leap by Josip Tadic and a powerful downward header past Eugene Galekovic. Heart could have added to its lead several times in the first half and Fred was one of the major culprits with three efforts which flew well wide of the goal from excellent positions. Dario Vidosic was the main threat to the home team with one shot which just went over the cross bar as Andrew Redmayne tried to get his fingertips to the ball. So it remained one-nil to Heart at the break.
Five minutes into the second half the lead was doubled when Matt Thompson robbed Evan Kostopoulos and set off on a diagonal run across the box. As he was tackled he laid the ball into the path of Richard Garcia who finished sweetly. From then on Heart controlled the game, apart from some of the old failing of taking free kicks and throws which finished up with the ball going all the way back to the keeper. Adelaide did have more possession but nearly all of it was in front of the Heart backline, in which young Walker was outstanding. In the centre Patrick Gerhardt and Simon Colosimo were cool under pressure, while Aziz Behich was always ready to rebound quickly when the opportunity occurred.
There was a bizarre incident in the first half when Adelaide player, Iain Ramsay, lost his boot and there was a hiatus of two minutes while he put it back on and tied his laces. It was a strange lapse by referee Lucien Laverdure who was otherwise excellent in his third A-League game.
John Aloisi was pleased that Heart kept its shape, particularly late in the second half, when they have tended to stop doing what they planned to do in previous matches. The coach said the players had absorbed the game plan and were coaching each other on the field. Even young Walker was telling Richard Garcia what he needed to do, which delighted the coach. ‘It showed we can play for ninety minutes and will help the players’ confidence to know that they can knock off the second top team on the ladder.’ The test will come next week away to the West Sydney Wanderers the form team of the moment in the A-League.
A-League Round 17
Friday, 18 January
Melbourne Heart 2 (Josip Tadic 5’, Richard Garcia 50’) Adelaide United 0
Venue: AAMI Park
Local Kick-Off: 7:30pm
Referee: Lucien Laverdure
Assistant refeees: Hakan Anaz and Jonathan Barreiro
4th Official: Alex Azcurra
20. Andrew Redmayne, 4.Simon Colosimo, 5.Fred (22. Nick Kalmar 55’), 6. Patrick Gerhardt, 8. Matthew Thompson, 10. Josip Tadic (9.Dylan Macallister 90+1’), 11. Richard Garcia, 13. Jonatan Germano, 15. David Williams (19. Ben Garuccio 90’), 16. Aziz Behich, 25. Jeremy Walker.
Unused substitutes: 1.Clint Bolton
Yellow cards: Aziz Behich 82’
Red cards: Nil
1.Eugene Galekovic, 5.Iain Fyfe, 6.Cassio (4.Jon McKain 71’), 10.Dario Vidosic (7.Zenon Caravella 64’), 12.Antony Golec, 14.Cameron Watson, 16.Daniel Bowles, 17.Iain Ramsay, 18.Fabian Barbiero, 21.Jeronimo Neumann (19.Jake Barker-Daish 77’), 23.Evan Kostopoulos
Unused substitutes: John Hall.
Yellow cards: Iain fyfe 21’, Ivan Golec 52’
Red cards: Nil.