Hyundai A-League - 2012/2013 - Season 8

It broke the losing streak
By Stephen Webb

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 9
5pm, Sunday 28 October, 2012
at Sydney Football Stadium

Sydney FC 0
drew with
Melbourne Heart FC 0

(Photo by Stephen Webb for BOTN)

Despite John Aloisi pinning a “kick me” sign on the back of Alessandro Del Piero, Melbourne Heart didn’t have the wherewithal to kick Sydney FC when they were down.

The mere presence of Frank Farina strangely couldn’t secure Sydney a rare win but at least it broke the losing streak. And a win against Heart often looked a likely eventuation — always bearing in mind that Heart are coming second last to Sydney’s last.

It was nevertheless a disappointing turnout (12,425) for this bottom-of-the-table “clash”.

Alack and alas, Sydney’s fickle fans aren’t prepared to turn out to see faint signs that their team, football’s capital, can actually play football. Hey! If Alessandro can stick it out, even after losing three games in a row for the first time in his illustrious career, surely you can turn up for the first ten rounds.

Okay, there were no goals but the game was pretty even. There were shots. There were some great saves.

Okay. Key players from both sides were out for international duty. But Sydney adjusted reasonably well.

Okay. Even Brett Emerton, who has been a shadow of himself of late, would have been better on the right than poor Joel Chianese who struggled out there something awful. But Hagi Gligor? Hagi Gligor! Terry Antonis could find himself returning from Hong Kong to fill a spot on the bench.

And Alessandro, when he wasn’t being barrelled over, hacked from behind, taken out by swinging loose arms or otherwise professionally fouled, was doing some pretty neat stuff.

Not to be too one eyed, Simon Colosimo provided comic relief and David Williams was pretty darned good. Or. Sadly. Maybe it was just that Rhyan Grant had a horror. Rhyan Grant. Frequently good breaking up the right. Good technically perhaps. But is he a defender?

It was overcast. Rain was threatening. There was a breeze.

Steve Corica was still officially Sydney’s coach. Ivan Necevski was no longer officially Sydney’s goalkeeper. And following the performance of Vedran Janjetovic he might not be for a while.

Jason Culina was still not considered ready enough to start.

Chianese started with promise, backing himself against Samuel Mitchinson, beating him and winning a free kick. Del Piero took the kick and Clint Bolton punched clear.

Grant started with promise, making a run into the Heart penalty area but falling. At the other end Williams beat him and crossed and Josip Tadic put a good chance over the crossbar.

Williams was a constant threat down the left — mainly because Grant was standing off him. When Grant finally shut him down Williams won a free kick.

Chianese had a great chance with a header in front of goal on a cross from Fabio on the left. But he glanced it wide to the right. Del Piero blasted a shot from 25 metres into a defender.

Yairo Yau, released down the left by Fabio, cut in and shot across the face of goal. Perhaps (a) he should have hit target or (b) passed off to Chianese in front of goal.

But Sydney were looking good. Even Terry McFlynn was doing okay. And Adam Griffiths, having one of his best games, was following McFlynn’s example, coming in hard and fast to stop any Heart player brave enough to take the ball.

Del Piero sent a magic pass through to Yau, clipping his heels, probably thinking how the hell did he slide it through that gap?

Janjetovic collected a cross from Ben Garuccio. Fred collected Del Piero from behind. The crowd wanted to see a yellow card, but no. The free kick won Sydney a corner.

Williams, still threatening down the left, crossed and Janjetovic snatched the ball at the feet of Tadic.

Del Piero stumbled through three Heart hurdles, the referee playing advantage as he progressed down the left, until he found himself on the sideline with three players around him. He wanted to go on and complained when the referee stopped play to issue a yellow card to Jason Hoffman.

Del Piero’s free kick sailed high.

Sydney kept up the pressure and Colosimo hoicked the ball away out of the hands of Bolton, Sydney fans thinking how wonderful an own goal by Colosimo would be.

Del Piero was brilliant playing a one-two with Grant down the right. Grant eventually received the ball in front of goal after some intense battling by Chianese but Grant fluffed his shot high.

Gligor and Del Piero attempted to link up but Del Piero’s back heel couldn’t quite find its mark.

Williams cut in from the left and shot high; Del Piero shot, Bolton spilled and no Sydney player had followed through; and Colosimo again hoicked the ball away from Bolton.

The first yellow card of the second half went to Jeremy Walker for ankle tapping Yau, set free down the left by Fabio — a fantastic ball and Yau had Walker for pace. Del Piero’s free kick from the left of the penalty area was swinging on its way inside the far post but Bolton was up to the challenge.

Hoffman hit a good volley backing out of the Sydney penalty area and a through ball for Fred was missed by everyone and rolled out to the right of goal.

“Two weeks ago that would have rolled in.”

Del Piero was wonderful taking the ball into the left of the Heart penalty area, skipping around Patrick Gerhardt and crossing to Chianese. Samuel Mitchinson was on hand to spoil things.

Janjetovic then made a terrific save on a header in front of goal by Fred.

Gligor played a neat ball to Grant who hit a decent shot just over the crossbar. Gligor was then sacrificed for Culina. (And here is where Farina will earn his money. Paul Reid already had no spot. Antonis was out. McFlynn and Gligor were doing well in their respective but different roles. Culina clearly wasn’t strong enough to tackle like McFlynn. But even though Culina always looked forward to pass the ball to McFlynn, pushed into Gligor’s spot, McFlynn was no Gligor. A new formation?)

Del Piero made a beautiful lay off for Chianese. Chianese, coming into the Heart penalty area from the right, blasted high. Del Piero just stood staring at Chianese. Then turned to the bench, raising his arm, pointing to the bench in exasperation.

After he was next fouled, 20 metres from goal, Del Piero’s free kick was sent heading to the upper tiers of the stands. As if, “You want to see a shot high over the goal? How about this one?”

Matt Thompson fouled Del Piero from behind to get his yellow. Del Piero’s free kick from 28 metres was again spilled by Bolton. Chianese was following through but went to ground before he reached the ball — maybe so he didn’t take out Bolton?

In the 69th minute Blake Powell came on for the battered Del Piero and relieved Chianese on the right flank.

Fabio crossed from the left and Yau would have had a good chance if the ball hadn’t passed through his legs.

A long ball from the Heart defence required Janjetovic to save bravely at the feet of Thompson. McFlynn crossed from Sydney’s right but it wasn’t too hard for Bolton to hold.

An error by Yau gifted the ball to Heart and Williams on the left of the box fed substitute Dylan Macallister. Janjetovic again was required to be remarkable. Then Ali Abbas got in the way of a clearance and ball fell fortunately for Williams, who skied a good shooting chance.

In the words of a guy near me, it had “turned to shit” for Sydney in the final ten minutes of the game. Just as well Heart were equally woeful.

Yau “shot” to the corner of the stadium. Culina gave the ball to McFlynn as Sydney made their final foray forward. McFlynn passed behind Powell and the ball harmlessly went out. Sydney would stay at the bottom of the table.

In the words of the guy next to me: It was a game of almosts — almost scored, almost got that touch, almost made that tackle, almost won that free kick.

Or the guy on the other side of me: Heart didn’t deserve to win but at times it seemed as though they might.

Or the guy in the restroom after the game: At least we didn’t f*****’ lose.

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 9
5pm, Sunday 28 October, 2012
at Sydney Football Stadium

Sydney FC 0
drew with
Melbourne Heart FC 0

    Crowd: 12,425


    Sydney FC :
    Player listing:
    20. Vedran Janjetovic (gk), 3. Fabio, 4. Pascal Bosschaart, 8. Adam Griffiths, 10. Alessandro Del Piero (12. Blake Powell +67'), 15. Terry McFlynn (c), 16. Joel Chianese, 21. Yairo Yau, 22. Ali Abbas, 23. Rhyan Grant, 26. Hagi Gligor (6. Jason Culina +65')

    Substitutes not used: 1. Ivan Necevski, 5. Nathan Sherlock

    Acting Coach: Steve Corica (pending Frand Farina taking over)

    Yellow Cards: Jason Culina 88'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Melbourne Heart FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Clint Bolton (gk), 4. Simon Colosimo, 5. Fred, 6. Patrick Gerhardt, 8. Matt Thompson (9. Dylan Macallister), 10. Josip Tadic, 15. David Williams, 17 Jason Hoffman, 19. Ben Garuccio (22. Nicholas Kalmar), 24. Samuel Mitchinson, 25. Jeremy Walker (18. David Vrankovic)

    Substitutes not used: 20. Andrew Redmayne (rgk)

    Coach: John Aloisi

    Yellow Cards: Jason Hoffman 33, Jeremy Walker 47, Matt Thompson 65'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Srebre Delovski 6/10
    Assistants: Lance Greenshields, Leigh Pigram; 4th Official: Stephen Lucas

    BOTN Player Points:
    3. Del Piero (Sydney)
    1. Hagi Gligor (Sydney)
    1. Vedran Janjetovic (Sydney)
    1. David Williams (Melbourne)

    Pitch rating: 6/10

    Game rating: 6/10

    Match report and ratings: Stephen Webb

Disclaimer: 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. Any photos used here are as attributed.

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