Heart Overcome By Late Brisbane Show
Melbourne Heart FC’s six-game unbeaten streak has come to an end after the side fell to the league leading Brisbane Roar 2-1 at AAMI Park tonight
Melbourne Heart FC-s six-game unbeaten streak has come to an end after the side fell to the league leading Brisbane Roar 2-1 at AAMI Park tonight.
Despite falling behind early in the first half after a Gerald Sibon strike, Roar came back into the contest after the break, as Kosta Barbarouses brought the side level before Jean-Carlos Solarzano scored the winner in the 89th minute.
Head Coach John van ‘t Schip said Heart-s taxing recent schedule ultimately cost the side, revealing fatigue played a role in the side-s first home defeat since round one.
“I think we were the better side, but that was not enough. Going into the second half with 1-0 lead, we went forward and we couldn-t push Brisbane up the pitch,” he said.
“We couldn-t come into our game anymore and they had the better chances. Matt Thompson and Alex Terra had a few chances but (Roar) were closer.
“We are getting where we want, but the schedule over the last two weeks was very difficult and I think it had something to do with today-s result.”
With both sides renowned for their attacking approach to the game, the opening stages of the contest failed to disappoint, as Heart and Roar demonstrated their commitment to fluid, passing football.
Having developed an almost telepathic understanding over the course of the last two months, midfield pair Josip Skoko and Wayne Srhoj again came to prominence early, while right back Michael Marrone appeared in ominous form, pressing forward to provide Heart with added width.
And it was indeed a ball from Marrone which netted Heart the opening goal of the contest, the former Young Socceroo deceiving a Roar defender before cutting the ball back for Gerald Sibon to slam home first time for his fourth strike of the season.
Heart almost found a second goal only minutes later, as Rutger Worm powered a header into the post with Theoklitos seemingly beaten following a stellar cross from Skoko.
Sparked into action, Roar surged forward in an attempt to find an immediate response as Luke De Vere tested Clint Bolton from long range, forcing the Heart ‘stopper into making a strong save.
However, the respite only proved temporary, as the home side dictated terms in the middle of the park, while out wide, Worm was a constant threat, peppering the Roar defence with a series of menacing crosses.
After the break though, Brisbane appeared rejuvenated, with Barbarouses going very close to restoring parity, shooting into the side netting after a delightfully worked move from the right flank.
Barbarouses seemed to be the most likely outlet to goal, combing well with German import Thomas Broich to wreak havoc as he hit the post before finally finding the back of the net in the 65th minute.
Receiving the ball close to the byline, Barbarouses cut inside before playing a defence splitting one-two with Mitch Nichols and directing the ball across Bolton low into the far corner.
Heart went close to making an immediate response, but youngster Eli Babalj was denied by a last ditch tackle inside the area.
The Red and White revival though was short lived as Brisbane was awarded a penalty after Jean Carlos Solarzano was brought down by Marrone in the area.
But Roar was unable to convert the resulting spot kick, as Bolton denied Ivan Franjic with his trailing leg to keep Heart in the match.
De Vere then headed wide from a set piece soon after as Roar applied the pressure in the dying stages of the match.
Despite valiantly attempting to hold Roar at bay, Heart eventually conceded in the second last minute of normal time, with Solarzano tapping into an open goal after a Franjic strike ricocheted off the post and into his path.