Socceroo Legends Denied Fairytale Farewell

Socceroo legends Josip Skoko and John Aloisi were denied a fairytale farewell as Melbourne Heart FC was held to a 2-2 draw by Sydney FC in the Blue Ribbon Cup at AAMI Park.

Socceroo legends Josip Skoko and John Aloisi were denied a fairytale farewell as Melbourne Heart FC was held to a 2-2 draw by Sydney FC in the Blue Ribbon Cup at AAMI Park.

After falling behind to a penalty from Nick Carle just after the half hour mark, Heart once again demonstrated its trademark spirit to claw its way back into the game as Dutchman Rutger Worm claimed an equaliser before half time.

And 15 minutes into the second stanza, it appeared the dream result would materialise as Aloisi slammed home from inside the penalty area to emphatically send the home side in front.

But Heart-s hopes of sending off Aloisi and Skoko in style were dashed as Carle popped up to score his second goal of the match in the dying stages.

While Skoko admitted he hoped to bow out with a win, the former Premier League star was philosophical about the result. “We would have liked to go out on a good note but it doesn't always have to end perfect - it ends how it ends,” Skoko said. Aloisi meanwhile said the day was one of mixed emotions, revealing his delight at calling time on his professional career in front of family and friends. “I'd had a tear in the eye all day. I'd never felt like this before. I can't thank the Melbourne Heart people enough. It was a good way to go out. To end it like that with family and friends here, it was good,” Aloisi said.

Despite a place in the finals being out of reach, Heart was on the attack early as the side sought to provide Skoko and Aloisi, in addition to the departing Gerald Sibon, with a farewell befitting of their contribution to the game.

Skoko-s midfield partnership with Wayne Srhoj once again laid the foundation for Heart-s early dominance as the duo dictated terms in the centre of the park.

And it was Aloisi who was nearly the beneficiary of the early dominance, twice coming close to setting the contest alight with an early goal.

But it was Sydney that ultimately took the lead as Carle converted from the spot after Hirofumi Moriyasu was brought down in the area.

Heart bounced back nearly immediately though as Worm latched onto a clever ball from Sibon before blasting past Liam Reddy from the angle.

However, the home side-s joy was short-lived as Sibon was harshly handed his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card, marking an end to the former Ajax and PSV star-s stint down under.

Sydney looked to grab the momentum after the break but it was Heart that surged ahead as Aloisi capped off a marvellous career with a deserved strike, pouncing on a loose ball in the area before applying the finish with trademark panache.

Aloisi-s effort appeared to be enough to secure Heart all three points, but Carle intervened with two minutes of normal time remaining to ensure honours and the inaugural Blue Ribbon Cup were shared.