Heart Claims Zaidee's Rainbow Foundation Cup
Melbourne Heart FC has returned to the Hyundai A-League’s top six after claiming a dramatic 1-0 win over Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium tonight.
Melbourne Heart FC has returned to the Hyundai A-League-s top six after claiming a dramatic 1-0 win over Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium tonight.
With four minutes of normal time remaining, rising star Adrian Zahra emerged as the hero, delicately controlling a Gerald Sibon through ball before prodding a shot past Sydney FC ‘keeper Liam Reddy to gift Heart all three points and the inaugural Zaidee-s Rainbow Foundation Cup.
Head Coach John van ‘t Schip was delighted with the result, but admitted Heart relied on a stroke of good fortune to secure victory.
“We know that we-re in that situation where every game we play now is like a final and today we were a little bit lucky I think, especially in the second half. In the first half, we played well, we were dictating and creating a few chances,” he said.
“But in the second half we struggled, and then you need a little bit of luck, and along the season, we missed a bit of that luck and today it was there, so we are very happy of course.”
The opening stages of the match were a cagey affair, with neither side willing to cede ground although Sydney did manage to carve an early chance through Dimitri Petratos.
However, it was Heart which soon asserted control of the contest, as Josip Skoko-s guile and composure on the ball provided the away side with an outlet to unlock the Sydney defence.
On his return to the starting line-up, Skoko returned to his influential best, stroking the ball across the park with ease to provide Heart with reassurance in the midfield.
After scoring the winner during Heart-s last gasp win over Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium last week, John Aloisi appeared ominous throughout the opening stanza, constantly seeking to latch onto probing balls in the final third of the park as he had a headed effort cleared by Sung Hwan Byun.
The best chance of the half though fell to an unlikely source, Aziz Behich, who skewed his shot wide after Reddy was only able to parry a powerful Rutger Worm effort into the left back-s path.
Goalkeeper Clint Bolton emerged as one of the heroes of the second half, producing a series of characteristically fine saves to keep Heart on level terms as Sydney FC attempted to navigate through the sea of red and white.
But it ultimately proved futile as Zahra combined with fellow substitute Sibon to move Heart back into the finals reckoning.