Melbourne Heart FC Head Youth Coach John Aloisi admits he was pleasantly surprised by his side’s performance in its penalty shootout loss to K-League powerhouse Busan I’Park in the Hawaiian Islands Invitational.
Melbourne Heart FC Head Youth Coach John Aloisi admits he was pleasantly surprised by his side-s performance in its penalty shootout loss to K-League powerhouse Busan I-Park in the Hawaiian Islands Invitational.
After holding the Korean outfit to a scoreless draw over 90 minutes, Heart was ultimately undone by the lottery of the shootout as Busan emerged 4-3 victors inspired by the heroics of goalkeeper Jeon Sang-wook.
But the result was ultimately secondary to the nature of Heart-s performance, with Aloisi taking much pride in the ability of his charges to stand firm in the face of adversity and challenge Busan as equals, despite fielding a side featuring a blend of youth team and Victorian Premier League players.
“I-m very surprised. I-ll be honest with you,” Aloisi said.
“I was hoping we would put on a good performance, but I-m very surprised that we did so well and got a great result.
“The boys are disappointed in there because we lost on penalties, but those things happen in football, and you learn from those sorts of games.
“It-s better to lose in a penalty shootout here, than one which means something a little more. It-s never nice to lose, but you always learn from these experiences.”
Aloisi was buoyed by the stellar display of his burgeoning brigade of youngsters, with Phil Petreski, Kristian Konstantinidis, Zac Walker and Josh Groenewald making the transition to senior competition with relative ease.
Praising their contribution, Aloisi said his National Youth League players rose to the occasion beyond his wildest expectations, revealing a glowing pride in their growth as footballers.
“I certainly do have a greater regard for my players after that performance,” he said.
“Young Phil Petreski hasn-t even played regular football with our youth team, but he-s filled in at left back, which isn-t his natural position, and I thought he was brilliant tonight.
“He combined really well with Josh Groenewald which is pleasing for me as they are youth team players.
“I think Kristian Konstantinidis defended well, he grew as the game went on too, and covered players even better as the game wore on. Zac Walker also created openings against a tough defence.”