Melbourne Heart FC leapfrogged Sydney FC into fifth position on the Hyundai A-League ladder after putting 10-man Sydney FC to the sword to record a 3-1 win at AAMI Park
Melbourne Heart FC leapfrogged Sydney FC into fifth position on the Hyundai A-League ladder after putting 10-man Sydney FC to the sword at AAMI Park on Sunday evening to record a 3-1 win.
In front of Heart-s largest ever home crowd outside of the Melbourne Derby - 13 752 - Heart established a 2-0 lead at the break through strikes from Nick Kalmar and Jonatan Germano.
The second half saw the Sky Blues reduced to ten men as Sebastian Ryall conceded a penalty, which subsequently earned him a red card and David Williams converted from the spot.
Joel Griffifths pulled a goal back, but Heart held on for an unprecedented fifth consecutive win on home soil.
The win lifts Heart into fifth position - equal with Sydney and Newcastle Jets on 27 points - but Heart holds the superior goal-difference.
Heart entered the match on the back of a disappointing 2-0 loss against Newcastle Jets, but with the confidence its home form has been flawless in 2013, and with the backing of a large and vocal crowd - the biggest attendance in Round 22.
With a place in the top six up for grabs, the Red and White-s self-belief was evident just five minutes into the clash as Richard Garcia broke down the right, latching onto a through-ball from Jeremy Walker.
Garcia cut inside and shot on his left but the effort was too weak and failed to trouble Sydney-s stopper Janjetovic.
The visitors then tried to take a stranglehold on the match in the ninth minute as the Sky Blues' marquee man Alessandro Del Piero shook off a challenge from Simon Colosimo, before curling in an effort, but Andrew Redmayne saved and held onto the ball.
After those two earlier chances, the match descended into a midfield battle, with neither side creating a clear-cut opportunity.
It took until the 27th minute before Heart threatened again, when David Williams' corner was headed downward by Simon Colosimo, before David Vrankovic controlled and tested Janjetovic.
Five minutes later, Heart snatched the lead after Walker linked well with Garcia down the right, with later sending a dangerous cross to the back post.
Williams turned the ball back into the penalty area, before a clever flick from Germano allowed Nick Kalmar to smash home the opener.
Three minutes later, Heart doubled its lead and netted a deserved second. Vrankovic played a ball forward to Eli Babalj, who-s expert first time through-ball unleashed Germano and the Argentine powered in a low strike past Janjetovic.
Heart suffered a scare in the final minute of the first half as Del Piero weaved his magic on the right, but his cross was ballooned over the bar via the head of Brett Emerton.
The sealer came in the 53rd minute as Kalmar-s superb lobbed through ball sent Williams through on goal, only for Ryall to pull him down in the penalty area and receive his marching orders for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.
Williams converted the resulting spot kick, but Sydney showed some fight as Griffiths pulled a goal back just four minutes later, driving the ball into the top corner after shaking pressure from Colosimo.
Both teams made a host of changes in the last half an hour, but it was Heart who should have added to its tally as further chances fell to Babalj, Williams, Walker and substitute Golgol Mebrathu.
Match Details Hyundai A-League Round 22 Melbourne Heart FC 3 (Nick Kalmar 31-, Jonatan Germano 35-, David Williams [PEN] 54-) Sydney FC 1 (Joel Griffiths 58-) AAMI Park Referee: Alan Milliner Crowd: 13,752.
Melbourne Heart FC Line-up 20. Andrew Redmayne, 4. Simon Colosimo, 8. Matt Thompson, 11. Richard Garcia, 13. Jonathan Germano (16. Macel Meeuwis ‘81), 15. David Williams, 18. David Vrankovic, 21. Jamie Coyne, 22. Nick Kalmar (5. Fred ‘66), 25. Jeremy Walker, 36. Eli Babalj (14. Golgol Mebrahtu ‘72). Substitutes not used: 1. Clint Bolton (GK) Yellow cards Jonathan Germano 35', David Williams 91. Red Cards: nil
Sydney FC Line-up:20. Vedran Janjetovic, 2, Sebastian Ryall, 3. Fabio, 7. Brett Emerton, 9. Paul Reid (17. Terry Antonis 46'), 10. Alessandro Del Piero, 13. Tiago, 23. Rhyan Grant, 26. Peter Triantis, 29. Joel Griffiths (16. Joel Chianese 66'), 32. Lucas Neill. Substitutes not used: 1. Ivan Necevski, 8. Adam Griffiths Yellow cards: Paul Reid 35', Joel Griffiths 46', Tiago 70'. Red card: Sebastian Ryall 53'