Roar beat Heart, but that’s not the story

By Adrian Demack:

Hyundai A-League 2013-14 season, Round 25

Friday, 28 March 2014

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 2 (Dimitri Petratos 36’, Henrique 73’)

defeated 

Melbourne Heart FC 1 (Aziz Behich 18’)

Brisbane have kept the ball rolling against Melbourne Heart with two contentious referee decisions giving life to what was essentially a dead rubber – just don’t tell either manager.

Mulvey and van’t Schip both talked up the importance of finishing the league strongly, despite the Heart’s finals chance gone and Brisbane already sealing the premiership. But it took Chris Beath to really stoke the game in to action, denying Heart a penalty and sending off Besart Berisha before the Roar rallied to win 2-1.

It was only the first minute when Liam Miller pulled Aziz Behich down in the box and Beath pointed to the spot. However, the ball then ran to an offside player, and the assistant flagged which superseded the penalty, for reasons only known to the referees. It was baffling to have a referee make the correct decision and change it.

The Heart were up for this game though, and had been knocking on the door non-stop when in the 17th minute ex-Roar man Murdocca played a ball behind Dugandzic in the box, who taped it back into the path of Behich to curl into the goal.

The premiers were pedestrian in the opening exchanges and the Heart well worth their lead, but they couldn’t see out the half when Brisbane’s main man Thomas Broich worked a half chance from nothing.

Following a corner Broich twisted and turned on the edge of the area, eventually finding a cross for Petratos, who was hurried by the Heart ‘keeper Velaphi, the ball came out to Smith, the centre half threaded it back to Petratos who struck from a narrow angle.

The Roar still went into the sheds with an unhappy manager, but just five minutes into the second half Mulvey would be absolutely palpable.

Berisha was played through on goal with Velaphi rushing out. Brisbane’s top scorer tried to get a shot in before the ‘keeper smothered, only to have his foot bounce off the ball and into the oncoming Velaphi’s head. To my eyes, it was a 50/50 that strikers and ‘keepers have contested since the dawn of time. But not according to Mr Beath.

Berisha was shown a red card and proceeded to openly weep as he left the field. After match when asked if the club planned to challenge the decision, Mulvey’s reply was a simple “100%.”

And this was the turning point, but not for the team you would expect. Brisbane, now in the unwanted position of being well drilled in playing with 10 men, bossed the rest of the match, with the goal showing that numbers aren’t everything in football.

The ball broke with Petratos with Henrique running beyond him and five Heart players surrounding him. He spotted McKay’s run down the left and lobbed the ball high into his path. McKay’s touch set him well for the cross as the Heart defenders lined the area – however none of them thought to mark the man Henrique who had stayed at the top of the box.

McKay slid the ball to him with plenty of time to take a touch and curl the ball into the goal, as is the ‘Slippery Fish’s trademark.

And from there the Roar saw out the game. Though visibly exhausted, resolute in their ability. Heart won’t take much from the game, van’t Schip has a lot of work to do this off season, building a club almost from scratch as if he had entered some kind of time warp.

Mulvey might take some positives from the match, but it seemed obvious that only one thing was on his mind. The process of getting a red card over-turned is notoriously difficult, but it does seem like these things only happen to Besart. He loves playing the villain, perhaps now he is the victim of his own temper, conviction and mohawk.

MATCH STATS:

Crowd: 10, 101

Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEO (gk), 2. Matthew SMITH (c), 7. Besart BERISHA, 8. Steven LUSTICA, 11. Liam MILLER (10. HENRIQUE 70’), 13. Jade NORTH, 17. Matthew McKAY, 19. Jack HINGERT, 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Dimitri PETRATOS

Substitutes not used: 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 15. James DONACHIE, 16. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 20. Matthew ACTON (gk)

Yellow cards: Nil

Red cards: Besart BERISHA 49’

Melbourne Heart: 3. Robbie WIELAERT (c) (6. Patrick GERHARDT 80’), 4. Orlando ENGELAAR (22. Nick KALMAR 65’), 7. Iain RAMSAY (21. Stefan MAUK 75’), 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 15. David WILLIAMS, 16. Aziz BEHICH, 17. Jason HOFFMAN, 19. Benjamin GARUCCIO, 20. Tando VELAPHI (gk), 23. Mate DUGANDZIC, 24. Patrick KISNORBO

Substitutes not used: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 28. Paulo RETRE

Yellow cards: Robbie WIELAERT 53’, Stefan MAUK 90’

Red cards: Nil

Referee: Chris Beath 2/10

Pitch: 8/10

Match: 6/10

Player Points:

3pts – Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar)

2pts – Thomas Broich (Brisbane Roar)

1pt – Henrique (Brisbane Roar)