Heart, Sydney in stalemate

Melbourne Heart and Sydney FC have both squandered the opportunity to enhance their Hyundai A-League finals credentials, sharing the spoils 0-0 at AAMI Park.

Melbourne Heart and Sydney FC have both squandered the opportunity to enhance their Hyundai A-League finals credentials, sharing the spoils 0-0 at AAMI Park.

Both sides had goal disallowed for offside in a match where the entertainment value was probably not reflected in the goalless scoreline. In the space of four second-half minutes, John Aloisi put the ball in the net for Heart while Mark Bridge did the same for Sydney, but the linesman’s flag denied them both.

The other crucial points came with two acts of desperation in either half from the respective sides. Simon Colosimo pulled off a spectacular goal-line clearance early in the game for the hosts, while a superbly timed sliding tackle from Sturt Musialik on 72 minutes thwarted Aloisi’s chance to be a hero.

Sydney defender Sung-Hwan Byun was sent off, but his departure was too late to affect the result.

Heart had the better chances for the game and should have really come away with the points, with 17 shots to nine. But the result at least breaks a run of three losses and keeps them in fifth ahead of next Sunday’s clash with Gold Coast.

Sydney did not bring their best football with them on their first-ever trip to AAMI Park, but some reasonably strong defence ensured they departed with something for their efforts and they have now gone four games without defeat.

They move above Perth on the table and into ninth, four points out of the finals race ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Wellington at home.

Heart began the half in bright form and had their first shot on target inside the first two minutes with Alex Terra bringing out a good save from an advancing Ivan Necevski.

On nine minutes, only Sebastian Ryall prevented Sydney going a goal down, blocking a shot from Aloisi who latched onto a clever cross from Terra.

After a shaky start, Sydney worked their way into the game and went close on multiple occasions during a frantic 23rd minute. Alex Brosque fed the ball through to Bridge and his shot looked destined for the net when an extraordinary goal clearance from Colosimo saved the day for the home side.

He bicycle-kicked the ball clear and while Terry McFlynn latched onto the rebound, Clint Bolton recovered in time to parry it to safety. McFlynn also wasted a chance from a follow-up cross heading wide.

The game didn-t come to life again until just before the hour when Terra fired a long shot and Necevski could only knock it back into Aloisi’s path. It was the simplest of conversions, but unfortunately for the veteran striker, he was offside.

A few minutes later Bridge ran onto a through ball and finished well, but was clearly offside and the scoreline was preserved.

Nick Kalmar replaced an injured Josip Skoko and had an immediate impact, nutmegging McFlynn but shooting over on 69 minutes. Soon after, only Musialik’s desperation saves Sydney’s blushes as he robbed Aloisi of the ball.

The home side peppered the goals for the remainder of the game, but their efforts came to nothing even when gifted a man advantage by Byun’s late brain explosion where he picked up two cards in as many minutes.

Melbourne Heart 0
Sydney FC 0
Crowd: 5,128 at AAMI Park