GCU hold Heart

Gold Coast United have weathered a storm from Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park to hold on for a 0-0 draw and stretch their unbeaten streak to seven.

Gold Coast United have weathered a storm from Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park to hold on for a 0-0 draw and stretch their unbeaten streak to seven.

The home side, missing first choice attacking trio Gerald Sibon, John Aloisi and Alex Terra, dominated for much of the game and created most of the chances, but could not find a way to break the deadlock.

Eli Babalj, Rutger Worm and Nick Kalmar all had excellent opportunities to give their side a much-needed boost up the table, but missed their opportunity to enter the top four.

Gold Coast offered very little in attack, failed to create a single corner for the match, had one shot on target and mustered just 43 per cent of possession.

United coach Miron Bleiberg admitted that Heart deserved all three points.

“I think Melbourne Heart deserved to win today. Can I go home now?” he said. “Maybe when we saw the team sheet, we thought it was going to be an easy day in the office.”

However they got the job done in defence, led by Dino Djulbic, to preserve their unbeaten away record this season and keep inside the top four. They will take their seven-match unbeaten streak to North Queensland next Sunday in the second of their three consecutive away matches.

Heart, now unbeaten in three matches, progress to 13 points from their opening 11 games and move ahead of Wellington Phoenix into sixth place. They next face the Newcastle Jets at EnergyAustralia Stadium next Sunday.

Coach John van ‘t Schip pulled a major shock, leaving out captain Simon Colosimo for tactical reasons, while Dean Heffernan was a late withdrawal with a hamstring injury. But their absence, combined with the fact neither Sibon, Aloisi or Terra were playing did not blunt the home side’s determination to dominate the game.

Gold Coast’s best period of the game, in terms of attack, came in the opening 20 minutes. Jason Culina was at the middle of everything, going over the bar himself before almost setting up Bruce Djite midway through the half, while Joel Porter was busy down the left hand side getting good service from Adama Traore.

Rutger Worm could have scored two for Heart inside the first 45, going inches wide on two occasions, while Josip Skoko, the most dominant player on the pitch on the night, produced the best chance early on, forcing a brilliant save from a quite busy Glen Moss.

After half time, Heart continued to boss the game and Moss was called on twice inside the first 15 minutes of the second half to spare his defence’s blushes. The first one was from a speculative cross from Aziz Behich, while Eli Babalj had an opening, but found the keeper’s reflexes intact.

Heart continued to create pressure and earn corners but the quality of chances were not arriving. Nick Kalmar and Worm had shots of winning it late, but continued the profligate theme of the evening by misfiring.

Melbourne Heart 0
Gold Coast United 0
Crowd: 6150 at AAMI Stadium