Roar clinical as Heart waste golden chances

By Andrew Demack:

Hyundai A-League 2013-14

Round 4

Brisbane Roar FC 3 (HENRIQUE 48’, 65’, Matt SMITH 77’ ) 


Melbourne Heart FC 0

Sunday, 3 November 2013 – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.

 Brisbane Roar overcame a fiesty Melbourne Heart to move back to the top of the A-League table tonight with a 3-0 home win at Suncorp Stadium.

All three of Brisbane’s goals (two to Henrique, and one to skipper Matt Smith) came in the second half, and on paper it might have seemed like a comfortable win to the favourites.

But it was Heart which made most of the running in the first half, and if Ramsay and Mifsud had been more clinical in front of goal, the visitors could easily have taken the lead.

Heart began with Michael Mifsud at the pointy end of a 4-5-1, which morphs quickly into 4-3-3 on the counter attack. With Ramsay, Williams, Miglorini and Massimo Murdocca buzzing around in midfield, Heart were putting excellent pressure on the Brisbane Roar passing game, high up the pitch. Brisbane found it very challenging to move the ball quick enough to pass through the Heart midfield. It was only good penetrating passes that could get the Roar attack moving, and early on Heart were winning the battle.

Miglorini launched a good ball forward in the 7th minute after Brattan was dispossessed. But Ramsay poked his shot wide when through one-on-one with Theo.

Then a few minutes later, Brisbane left back Corey Brown (replacing the injured Stefanutto) passed the ball straight to Michael Mifsud. The angle was tough, but once again Theo did not need to make a save as Mifsud’s shot across him was just wide of the far post.

As the half wore on, Brisbane made a few chances of their own … but once again neither Matt McKay (25th minute) nor Henrique (33rd minute) could force Andrew Redmayne into a save.

Thomas Broich did force a save out of Redmayne in the 37th minute, but Redmayne got down low to stop the German’s drive, and held the ball at the second attempt.

Towards the end of a scoreless half, some observers began to verbalise that Melbourne Heart had maybe had all their best opportunities to score, and had blown them. Would it cost them in the second half?

The 15,011 in attendance had only two minutes of the second half to watch to find out the answer to that rhetorical question. Brisbane’s Franjic passed forward quickly out of midfield, Matt McKay slid a perfect diagonal pass to Kwame Yeboah, who certainly forced Redmayne into an excellent save.

But from the resulting corner, Brisbane took the lead. The ball was half-cleared, but only to Broich, who knocked it to the feet of Luke Brattan. Brattan looked at the on-rushing Heart defence, and calmly picked out the unmarked Henrique in the box. He had time to bring the ball down off his chest, and half-volley it low past Redmayne in the same movement.

It was a classy finish from the Brazilian, but a terrible defensive lapse by the Heart. Skipper Rob Wielaert was the only defender at home as the ball was played in, and he was sticking close to Matt Smith. But the other Heart central defender Gerhardt, and right back Jeremy Walker, were both guilty of terrible ball-watching, and simply not tracking the most central attacker.

I’m pretty sure I know what videos John Aloisi is going to make his team watch on Monday morning. And I wouldn’t want to be either Walker or Gerhardt at that session.

Melbourne Heart responded well to going a goal down, and were absolutely still in the contest, albeit that a more open game was always going to suit the home team better.

Iain Ramsay was given space enough to shoot from outside the box, in the 59th minute. His left foot shot flew past Theo, but crashed into the post, and was cleared. Once again, the Heart were desperately unlucky, as an equaliser at that point would have made matters very interesting!

But it was Brisbane which went down the other end and put the game beyond reach with Henrique’s second goal. Dimi Petratos twisted and turned and got off a good shot. Redmayne parried the shot, and Henrique was the man on the spot to clean up the scraps. He seemed to have an age to tuck the ball into the corner of the goal, and indeed replays showed that he may have been perilously close to offside when Petratos hit his shot.

The referee and his assistants did not cover themselves with glory in this match … quite a few baffling decisions were made. But this one really finished off the Melbourne Heart.

It was no surprise when Matt Smith added the third goal. Once again Heart failed to clear a set piece, and failed again to mark effectively for the second ball back into the box. Franjic was the supplier on this occasion, and he found Matt McKay in an advanced position left of the goal.

There would be few players in the A-League as composed as McKay in these situations, and sure enough he picked out Smith with a hard low ball into the danger area. Smith only need to make firm contact to score, and he did.

After the game, Heart coach John Aloisi praised the effort of his players, and was gentle enough on the subject of defensive errors. His viewpoint was that the Heart made enough scoring chances to win the game, and this is certainly true. However, the defensive structure of the team seems a little wobbly. Wielaert was excellent in the heart of the defence, but he will need more support from those around him if Heart are to contain the top sides in the A-League.

Roar coach Mike Mulvey was guarded in his assessment of the home team’s performance. He was happy with the win, but certainly not the first-half performance … “like a rabbit caught in the headlights” was the phrase used when talking about Brisbane’s lack of ability to pass the ball out of its own half in the first part of the game.

Brisbane will be heartened by good performances off the bench from Dimitri Petratos, and an energetic debut in the second half from Brendon Borrello. Petratos would have a good claim to replace Yeboah in the starting line-up next week.

Corey Brown had a couple of ropey moments in defence in the first half, but the extra dash he brings to the left side attack of the Roar over his more senior team-mate Stefanutto would lead this observer to hope that Brown gets an extended run in the starting eleven.

 Crowd: 15,011

Referee: Lucien Lavendure

Brisbane Roar: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 2.Matthew SMITH (c), 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 10. HENRIQUE (28. Brandon BORRELLO 78’), 13. Jade NORTH, 17.Matt McKAY, 18.Luke BRATTAN (14. Diogo FERREIRA 79’), 19.Jack HINGERT, 22.Thomas BROICH, 26. Corey BROWN, 29.Kwame YEBOAH (23. Dimitri PETRATOS 64’)

Substitutes not used: 20. Matt ACTON (gk), 15. James DONACHIE

Yellow cards: Nil

Red cards: Nil

Melbourne Heart: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 2. Jeremy WALKER, 3. Robbie WIELAERT (c), 6. Patrick GERHARDT, 7. Iain RAMSAY (14. Golgol MERBRAHTU 78’), 8.Massimo MURDOCCA, 11.Michael MIFSUD, 15.David WILLIAMS, 16.Aziz BEHICH, 23. Mate DUGANDZIC (28. Paulo RETRE 88’), 25. Andrea MIGLIORINI (21. Stefan MAUK 64’)

Substitutes not used: 20. Tando VELAPHI (gk), 18. David VRANKOVIC

Yellow cards: Andrea MIGLIORINI 37’, Massimo MURDOCCA 44’, Robbie WIELAERT 66’, Stefan MAUK 21’

Red cards: Nil
Game rating: 8/10

Pitch rating: 8/10


BOTN Player points

3 – Henrique (BR)

2 – Iain Ramsay (MH)

1 – Matt McKay