A 10-man Melbourne Heart FC were forced to churn out a gutsy 3-2 win over Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park this afternoon, despite establishing a seemingly comfortable 3-0 lead over the visitors.
A ten-man Melbourne Heart FC were forced to churn out a gutsy 3-2 win over Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park this afternoon, despite establishing a seemingly comfortable 3-0 lead over the visitors.
After illustrating grit and determination against Newcastle Jets to grind out a 2-1 win on Tuesday, Heart showed it had plenty of ticker to down a Roar side which had the majority of possession, but failed to bury its chances.
Securing its second consecutive win of the season, Heart jumped above Roar and shot into the top six of the Hyundai A-League this afternoon, taking its points tally in 2013 to six.
Heart were on the back foot for much of the 90 minutes, especially when midfielder David Williams was given his marching orders with 23 minutes remaining, as Mike Mulvey's Roar executed an excellent passing game.
But Heart were deadly on the counter attack as they cut through the Roar-s brittle defence on three occasions.
Heart suffered an early scare as Eric Paartalu was left unmarked from a corner and headed towards the top corner of Andrew Redmayne-s goal, but the stopper punched the danger clear.
While Brisbane started the brighter, when Fred pick-pocketed his opponent in the 13th minute, Heart showed how clinical it can be on the break.
Fred fed Jonatan Germano who spread the ball wide to Richard Garcia in one sweeping move, before Garcia delivered a pinpoint through-ball to Williams, who buried the opener with aplomb past Roar keeper Michael Theo.
Roar settled again and had the lion-s share of possession, but Heart doubled its lead against the run of play after a surging run from right-back Michael Marrone.
Marrone showed Paartalu a clean set of heels before slipping in Josip Tadic, who toe-poked the ball under Theo for his fifth goal of the season.
The strike was shrouded in controversy as Roar protested Tadic was in an offside position; however, the effort stood and Heart carried a 2-0 lead into the break.
There was no question about Heart-s third, eight minutes into the second period, as Aziz Behich showed blistering pace down the left flank and cut the ball to Fred who tucked away the chance, despite Theo's best attempts to deflect the effort wide.
Heart-s confidence was sky-high as the match approached the hour mark, prompting Josip Tadic to try his luck from 30 metres, although his effort failed to trouble Theo.
However, Roar continued to push and probe, first through Parartalu's curling shot and Mitch Nichols threatening strike from range.
The turning point came in the 67th minute as Williams was sent off after an overzealous challenge on Ivan Franjic.
Six minutes later, Fred tripped Ben Halloran in the box to concede a penalty, which Bersart Berisha tucked away what appeared to be a consolation.
But the momentum swung heavily in Brisbane-s favour two minutes later, when Berisha reduced the deficit to just one goal, as the Roar striker poked home the match-s fifth goal and gave the visitors hope.
Brisbane continued to trouble Heart-s backline, but lacked a killer blow as the home side ground out an important win.
Match Details Melbourne Heart FC 3 (David Williams 13-, Josip Tadic 35-, Fred 53-) Brisbane Roar FC 2 (Berisha [PEN] 74-, 76-) AAMI Park Crowd: 6,303 Referee: Alan Milliner Melbourne Heart FC: 20. Andrew Redmayne (GK), 2. Michael Marrone, 4. Simon Colosimo, 5. Fred (14. Golgol Mebrahtu 81-), 6. Patrick Gerhardt, 8. Matt Thompson, 10. Josip Tadic (9. Dylan Macallister 81-), 11. Richard Garcia, 13. Jonatan Germano (17. Jason Hoffman 62'), 15. David Williams, 16. Aziz Behich Substitutes not used: 1. Clint Bolton (GK) Yellow: 16. Aziz Behich 48-, 11. Richard Garcia 64-, 20. Andrew Redmayne 65- Red: 15. David Williams 67-
Brisbane Roar FC: 1. Michael Theo (GK), 2. Matthew Smith, 3. Shane Stefanutto 4. Matthew Jurman (21. James Meyer 75-), 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paartalu (25. George Lambadaridis 75-), 7. Bersart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca (24. Nick Fitzgerald 46'), , 11. Ben Halloran, 17. Mitch Nichols, 22. Thomas Broich Substitutes not used: 20. Matthew Acton (GK), Yellow: 11. Ben Halloran 18- Red: Nil