Melbourne Heart go down to Roar in Lismore

Melbourne Heart FC relinquished the Craig Foster Cup at Oakes Oval in Lismore on Sunday afternoon after succumbing to a Besart Berisha hat-trick against Brisbane Roar.

Melbourne Heart FC relinquished the Craig Foster Cup at Oakes Oval in Lismore on Sunday afternoon after succumbing to a Besart Berisha hat-trick against Brisbane Roar.

Melbourne Heart won the inaugural Craig Foster Cup last year when the Club travelled to Lismore for a pre-season camp and contested the trophy with Western Sydney Wanderers in a pre-season match.

However, Brisbane Roar claimed the pre-season Cup, which is a City of Lismore initiative, on Sunday afternoon in front of a healthy crowd of 5, 138 after Berisha struck early in the first half and twice in the second.

The match shaped as Melbourne Heart-s first pre-season hit out against a Hyundai A-League opponent during the 2013-14 pre-season, with the Red and White having defeated a GNEFA All Stars side, a La Trobe University XI side 12-0 and Victorian Premier League outfit Richmond SC 4-0.

While Head Coach John Aloisi fielded a strong starting line-up, including marquee signing Orlando Engelaar in midfield and Harry Kewell as captain, Roar named an impressive side which included Berisha, Thomas Broich, Michael Theo and Matt McKay.

And it didn-t take long for Mike Mulvey-s Roar to strike as Berisha punished a lethargic start from the Red and White, with the Albanian sharp-shooter netting just 16 seconds after kick-off.

That early blow had Heart on the back foot and Aloisi-s side could only muster half chances from Golgol Mebrahtu - from a free-kick - and David Williams, who blasted over the Roar crossbar from distance.

Melbourne Heart received another blow nearing the half hour mark as Engelaar and Broich clashed heavily and Engelaar-s contribution was cut short as the Dutchman was replaced by triallist Paulo Retre.

Initial reports suggested Engelaar-s injury was not serious and the Heart-s new number 4 had only suffered a bruised shin.

Melbourne were on the back foot for much of the first half as Roar pressured, but Berisha-s early strike remained the difference at the interval.

But Heart were caught out again after the break as the predatory Berisha snatched a second half double, striking in the 66th and 83rd minutes.

Melbourne went close to snatching a late consolation in stoppage time, but were denied by the woodwork as an effort from triallist Brent McGrath came back off the woodwork after he was set up by a clever Kewell back heel.

Melbourne Heart will announce the Club-s remaining pre-season schedule in the next week.

Match Details Hyundai A-League Pre-Season Match Brisbane Roar 3 (Berisha 1', 66', 83') Melbourne Heart FC 0 Oakes Oval, Lismore Crowd: 5138