Melbourne Heart FC’s hopes of reaching the Hyundai A-League Finals Series were shattered this evening as top-six contenders Brisbane Roar defeated the Red and White 2-0 at Suncorp Stadium.
Melbourne Heart FC-s hopes of reaching the Hyundai A-League Finals Series were shattered this evening as top-six contenders Brisbane Roar defeated the Red and White 2-0 at Suncorp Stadium.
While Heart entered the match unbeaten in five encounters against the Roar, and hoping to keep its finals chances alive, a dominant first-half display from the reigning champions extinguished those hopes.
Heart were dealt an early blow as Sam Mitchinson-s tackle on Ivan Franjic in the box was penalised and Roar marksman Besart Berisha buried the spot-kick past Andrew Redmayne just 12 minutes in.
That sparked Roar into life and as the home side turned on the style and turned the screw, the Red and White went further behind as Thomas Broich-s bullet from 25 metres found its way past Andrew Redmayne, who registered an otherwise excellent performance.
In fact it was Redmayne who kept Heart in the contest in the first stanza as he denied Broich-s awkward bouncing strike in the 17th minute, tipping the Brisbane skipper-s effort around the post.
Heart had a fleeting chance previous to that as captain Matt Thompson-s fourth-minute toe-poke was knocked wide by Roar keeper Michael Theo.
Redmayne produced another superb save after good work from Franjic and a dangerous shot from the effervescent Broich.
Heart-s stopper was again to the rescue in the 27th minute as Mitch Nichols broke into the box and powered a strike destined for the roof of the net, only for Redmayne to tip over for a corner.
Heart battled to stem the orange tide as Brisbane launched wave after wave of attack, but it took something special from Broich to double the home side's lead as he unleashed an unstoppable swerving drive which had Redmayne clutching at thin air in the 31st minute.
Heart had a rare chance on the stroke of half-time as Golgol Mebrahtu curled a free kick high and wide over Roar-s cross bar.
The Red and White seemed a more structured side in the second half as Head Coach John Aloisi delivered instructions at the break, but the Heart found it difficult to contend with a Roar side oozing with confidence.
While there were fewer chances in the second period, Steven Lustica almost latched onto Nichols- through ball in the 58th minute, but the Roar striker fired over the bar.
Roar went closest to a third as substitute Stefan Nijland crashed an exquisite effort onto the inside of Heart-s woodwork but the effort bounced away to safety in the 75th minute.
Heart thought that they had pulled a goal back when substitute Eli Babalj linked nicely with fellow strike partner Josip Tadic, but despite slotting the ball past Theo, the Croatian-s effort was ruled out for offside.
Roar also had an effort scratched out for offside, but Heart threw everything at the home side in the dying minutes as David Williams, with a low strike, and then Vrankovic, with a downward header from a corner, produced excellent stops from Theo.
With one match remaining against Central Coast Mariners next Sunday, Heart are mathematically out of the finals race as Brisbane move into fifth spot on the ladder.
Match Details Hyundai A-League Round 26 Sunday 24 March Brisbane Roar 2 (Bersart Berisha 12- [PEN], Thomas Broich 31-) Melbourne Heart FC 0 Suncorp Stadium Crowd: 9,869 Referee: Matthew Gillett
Melbourne Heart FC line-up: 20. Andrew Redmayne(GK), 8. Matt Thompson, 10. Josip Tadic, 11. Richard Garcia, 14. Golgol Mebrahtu (36. Eli Bablaj 62-), 15. David Williams, 16. Marcel Meeuwis, 18. David Vrankovic (9. Dylan Macallister 69-), 21. Jamie Coyne, 24. Sam Mitchinson, 25. Jeremy Walker Substitutes not used: 1. Clint Bolton (GK), 17. Jason Hoffman, Yellow: Marcel Meeuwis 14-, David Williams 36-, Jamie Coyne 36-, David Vrankovic 69- Red: Nil
Brisbane Roar line-up: 1. Michael Theo (GK), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 5. Ivan Franjic, 7. Besart Berisha, 14. Steven Lustica (10. Henrique 78-), 15. James Donachie, 17. Mitch Nichols (9. Stefan Nijand 63-), 18. Luke Bratton, 19. Jack Hingert (11. Ben Halloran 90+1-), 22. Thomas Broich, 26. Corey Brown Substitutes not used: 20. Matthew Acton (GK),11. Ben Halloran Yellow: 18. Luke Bratton 70- Red: Nil