Roar fight back against Heart

Ladder leaders Brisbane Roar have come from behind to beat Melbourne Heart 2-1 at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon and stretch their unbeaten run to 10 games.

Brisbane Roar’s unbeaten run now stands at 10 games after the Hyundai ALeague ladder leaders overcame a strong first-half display from Melbourne Heart to come from behind and win 2-1 at AAMI Park on Sunday.

The pro-Heart crowd of 7034 were treated to some superb football from the hosts in the opening 45 minutes and they rightly took the lead in the 11th minute when Gerald Sibon side-footed home for his third goal of the season.

But having failed to capitalise further on 56 percent of possession to the break, Heart tired noticeably in the second half and were unable to hold off the Roar tide, with Kosta Barbarouses equalising with 25 minutes left before Jean Carlos Solorzano scored an 88th-minute winner.

Roar now head the table by four points from Adelaide United, who went down to the Jets on Saturday while Heart could slip to sixth if Victory get past the Glory later on Sunday in Perth after seeing their run of six games unbeaten come to an end.

In the opening 10 minutes the Heart had the better of the half chances without seriously threatening before Massimo Murdocca ran up the right and crossed to the near post for Barbarouses but he nodded wide.

Within a minute a speedy run up the right from Michael Marrone was rewarded by a superb ball from Adrian Zahra and Marrone feigned to cross before turning inside and passing to Sibon who banged home on the turn.

Milan Susak cut across Michael Theoklitos’ path to try and make the save but missed and distracted the keeper enough for him to dive and get his gloves to the ball only to watch in horror as it went in anyway.

Rutger Worm continued to terrorise the Roar down the left and when Josip Skoko chipped into the box Worm’s header looked certain to double the lead only for it to hit the post and then a stranded Theoklitos before rolling clear.

Worm and Sibon combined but John Aloisi couldn’t quite get his boot to an attempted overhead kick before Solorzano was blocked by Michael Beauchamp and Michael DeVere couldn’t direct his free header from the resulting corner on target.

Theoklitos used his legs to block Aloisi’s attempt midway through the half while DeVere continued to find space and saw Clint Bolton diffuse his shot on the half-hour while Zahra and Sibon both got on the end of Worm crosses but couldn’t get their headers on target.

Ivan Franjic replaced Shane Stefanutto at the break and combined with Barbarouses soon after only for the New Zealander to flash his shot wide and after being put through again on 63 minutes, this time by Thomas Broich, he hit the side netting again.

But Mitch Nichols’ introduction in the 65th minute provided immediate dividends as within a minute Barbarouses ran to the edge of the box, passed for Nichols and then ran on to get it back before cutting his shot across Bolton and into the far corner for 1-1.

More drama was to come with 19 minutes remaining when Solorzano was fouled by Marrone and referee Ryan Shepheard pointed to the spot but after Shroj picked up a yellow card for dissent Bolton saved Ivan Franjic’s penalty attempt.

There was still time for a late winner though and Solorzano duly delivered it when he tapped in the rebound after Franjic had again been denied a goal, this time by the woodwork, having been set up by Broich.

Melbourne Heart 1 (Sibon 11)
Brisbane Roar 2 (Barbarouses 65, Solorzano 88)