Hyundai A-League - 2010/2011 - Season 6

Heart failures give derby to Victory
By Alan Clark

2010/2011 Hyundai A-League - Round 18
7pm, Saturday 11 December, 2010
at Melbourne Football Stadium

Melbourne Heart FC 1
(Gerald Sibon 17'')
lost to
Melbourne Victory FC 3
(Robbie Kruse 12' 28, Adran Leijer* 54')

(Photo linked from FFA site)

Melbourne Victory ran out comfortable three-one winners against co-tenants Melbourne Heart at the Melbourne Football Stadium on Saturday evening. The win keeps Victory's Finals hopes alive, but put Heart's on life-support.

Robbie Kruse netted a double, the first from close-range after he'd been found by Archie Thompson after just twelve minutes.

Gerald Sibon levelled shortly after, direct from a free-kick which he bent around the wall.

But Kruse got his second, with a smash-and-grab raid after Matt Thompson failed to control a ball, allowing the speedster to run goalwards, facing only a hopelessly exposed Clint Bolton in goal. Kruse's shot found the net at the near-post.

Adrian Leijer extended the lead after he'd joined the attack and converted from close-range after Thompson had found his way to the bye-line and crossed low into the danger-area.

Heart coach John Van't Schip was disappointed not to have earnt the points, but was not downcast at his team's endeavours. "We kept on playing, and we kept on creating good attacks," he said. "Overall we were definitely not outplayed, but you don't get the points for that."

Ernie Merrick was clearly pleased to have brought the nascent derby rivalry into balance, after Heart's win first time up. "Every time we won the ball, we were in the right position to create problems for them," he said.

Aware Heart was playing a back three, Merrick sought to split them and draw them wide. "We opened up the two strikers, Archie and Robbie pulled wide to open them up, so Carlos would have space to come through the middle."

"The first and last goals came from that," he said.

After a cautious opening, the contest came alive with three goals in fifteen minutes just before the half-hour.

Kruse continued his hot streak in front of goal, side-footing home from inside the six-yard area after twelve minutes. Surat Suhka had outfought Rutger Worm inside the Victory defensive half, and quickly played a ball forward for Carlos Hernandez. With a skip and a shimmy, he had eluded his marker and waited for support down the right from Thompson who eagerly provided it.

"The ball was with Rutger," said Van't Schip. "And he didn't control it that well, and within two passes (Victory) was in front of our goal."

Thompson sped behind the Heart defence and squared to Kruse, now central and with only a chasing defender nearby. He couldn't miss, and didn't.

But the triumphant chants of the away support, which outnumbered the home fans, were silenced barely five minutes later. Sibon lined-up a free-kick from 25 metres after Kevin Muscat had floored Adrian Zahra as the youngster bore down on goal. Sibon cleverly bent his shot around the wall and into the net low to Michael Petkovic's left.

A game which had begun with the players seemingly unwilling to show their hands early, had suddenly burst into life.

With the touchpaper now lit, and both sides' defensive frailties open knowledge, the scoreline was not likely to stall at that point.

And so it proved within ten minutes as Matt Thompson brought down a hopeful lobbed header from Leijer deep inside his own half, and seemed to have time to clear. Kruse had other ideas and was on the Heart central defender as quickly and purposefully as a cheetah to a gazelle, racing into the penalty-area and the full face of goal. Bolton did his best, but the advantage was always with Kruse who surgically tucked the ball away.

The half-hour was still to arrive. The capacity attendance awaited the next instalment.

If Bolton will be disappointed at not being quick enough to cover a near-post shot, he'll be much prouder of a marvellous save from Hernandez a few minutes later. Hernandez had struck a ferocious shot from 25 metres which was going to bend and dip its way into the net but Bolton's diving touch which diverted it over the bar.

Both coaches made minor re-adjustments at the start of the second half with Heart bringing on ex-Victory youngster Kristian Sarkies, and Victory swapping Billy Celeski for substitute Tom Pondeljak.

It was Sarkies who was first to make his mark, chesting down a ball for Wayne Shroj at the forward edge of the penalty-area. Shroj shot wide, with the open face of goal before him.

Sarkies came to attention once more in the game's final minutes when a dipping shot crashed off the cross-bar with Petkovic well-beaten. Heart was to hit the woodwork once more later in the match, a pointer to their ill-fortune, and lack of reward.

Marvin Angulo is becoming a highly-effective member of the Victory midfield and showed his wares ten minutes after the re-start with a storming run half the length of the field. Leaving opponents in his wake he ran to the edge of the penalty-area, feeding Hernandez who had made ground to his right. Hernandez shot was on-target, and had eluded Bolton, but Simon Colosimo made a last-ditch intervention to scramble the ball away for a corner.

But within seconds, Victory had extended its lead, the warning unheeded.

Heart had failed to clear the corner and was still under siege when Thompson gained control wide on the left. He brought the ball to the goal-line and crossed hard and low to the forward edge of the six-yard box. Kruse only just failed to reach it, but Leijer, who was still upfield following his role at corners, was able to get enough contact to send it over the line. Shroj did his best to make things difficult for Leijer, but he was always on the wrong side of the action.

Whether it was Leijer or Shroj who got the final touch is open for debate. Leijer celebrated regardless.

Neither side was able to alter the scoreline from that point, and by game's end, the red portion of the stadium was sparsely occupied, the blue majority in vociferous ascendancy.

Kruse was pleased to be able to provide that joy. "After the last derby," he said. "And seeing their fans celebrate they way they did it really took a while to get over it. We went to our fans (at the end of the match), and to see how much it meant for them was something special."

2010/2011 Hyundai A-League - Round 18
Saturday 11 December, 2010
at Melbourne Football Stadium

Melbourne Heart FC 1
(Gerald Sibon 17'')
lost to
Melbourne Victory FC 3
(Robbie Kruse 12' 28, Adrian Leijer* 54')

    Crowd: 23,059


    Melbourne Heart FC :
    Player listing:
    (3-4-2-1) 1, Clint Bolton (gk), 2, Michael Morrone, 6 Matt Thompson, 4 Simon Colosimo (c), 25 Adrian Zahra, 22 Nick Kalmar, 10 Wayne Srhoj, 24 Aziz Behich, 9 Gerald Sibon (8 Kristian Sarkies +46'), 7 Rutger Worm, 15 John Aloisi.

    Substitutes not used: 5 Michael Beauchamp, 17 Jason Hoffman, 12 Peter Zois (rgk)

    Coach: John van 't Schip (Netherlands)

    Yellow Cards: Nick Kalmar 42', Michael Marrone 47', Adrian Zahra 69', Wayne Shroj 90'+1
    Red Cards: Nil

    Melbourne Victory FC :
    Player listing:
    (4-3-1-2) 1. Michael Petkovic (gk), 5 Surat Sukha, 23 Adrian Leijer, 2 Kevin Muscat (c), 7 Matthew Kemp, 14 Billy Celeski (15 Tom Pondeljak +46'), 8 Grant Brebner, 11 Marvin Angulo, 16 Carlos Hernandez (13 Diogo Ferreira +68), 21 Robbie Kruse (3 Mate Dugandzic +75), 10 Archie Thompson

    Substitutes not used: 20 Sebastian Mattei (rgk)

    Coach: Ernie Merrick

    Yellow Cards: Billy Celeski 39', Carlos Hernandez 68', Diogo Ferreira 90'+2
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Chris Beath
    AR1: Shaun Evans, AR2: Luke Brennan; Fourth Official: Kevin Docherty

    BOTN Player Points:
    3. Robbie Kruse (Melbourne Victory)
    2. Carlos Hernandez (Melbourne Victory)
    1. Surat Sukha (Melbourne Victory)

    Pitch rating: 8/10

    Game rating: 8/10

    Match Report and ratings: by Alan Clark

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Disclaimer: * As per referees report! The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their compete accuracy although we do strive for that. FFA has not this season accredited any Photographers for BOTN, so any photos used here, unless attributed, are as supplied by FFA and used by permission.

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