Melbourne Heart 2 Perth Glory 0
Melbourne Heart overcame Perth Glory by two goals to nil at AAMI Park on Saturday night. Nick Kalmar had his best game in a Heart shirt, albeit a black one sponsored by Twitter for an interactive round. He scored a brilliant free kick, and then with his confidence sky high proceeded to demonstrate the whole range of skills and technical proficiency, and a little showboating near the end. His coach, John Aloisi was delighted that the attacking midfielder was now showing the quality he believed Kalmar possessed after a disrupted season last year and intermittent starts this time around.
Eli Babalj was also on target for Heart in the second half and he is another player who needed a boost to his self-esteem after a torrid experience with Red Start Belgrade and a significant period in which he did not play a competitive game. Heart gave Jamie Coyne a start against his old club and he managed to see out the game at left back. He will be another asset once he gets back to full fitness.
Perth has fallen away after an excellent start to the season and coach Ian Ferguson is clear that the lack of depth in the squad following the departure of key players Bas van den Brink and Bill Mehmet and a spate of injuries is responsible. But the Glory were in the game throughout and had a couple of decisions go against them and missed converting good chances very narrowly when the game was in the balance.
Heart struggled early but in the 23 minute skipper Matt Thompson was brought down about 25 metres out by Joshua Risdon. Nick Kalmar and David Williams stood over the ball, but it was Kalmar who struck it over the wall and off the underside of the bar and over the line as Danny Vukovic threw himself across in a vain attempt to prevent the goal. The midfielder also had a hand in the second goal.
Kalmar’s free kick in 57th minute was deflected for a corner kick. When Williams laced it over, David Vrankovic headed it back into the danger area where Jonatan Germano got to the loose ball just outside the right hand post and hooked it across the goal area. Eli Babalj pounced to score from close range.
Glory thought they might have had at least a free kick before Heart opened their account, when Patrick Gerhardt tangled with Chris Harold on the edge of the penalty box. The Perth winger went flying, but the delayed and spectacular crash to earth probably led referee Alan Milliner to conclude that the contact had not been material. In the second half a driven cross seemed to strike the Swiss defender on the torso or perhaps an arm, but while the referee might have been unsighted the assistant who was facing the incident saw no need to raise his flag.
Perth had numerous chances to score in an open and exciting game, but the final pass was often under pressure, or escaped the intended recipient. Shane Smeltz, usually so clinical in his finishing had one of the best openings but blasted it at keeper Andrew Redmayne rather than placing it. Rao Nagai came on as substitute for Travis Dodd and had a double chance to score soon afterwards but his first effort was blocked by Vrankovic and Jeremy Walker whisked the second try away to safety.
For Heart, when Danny Vukovic could not hold a fierce drive by David Williams, Eli Babalj failed to direct the rebound past the keeper, who gathered gratefully. Late on Dylan McAllister, another substitute, might have done better than shoot directly to the keeper after Kalmar had brought the house down with a slaloming run through midfield to set him up.
Saturday, 9 February 2013
Melbourne Heart v Perth Glory
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 5:30pm AEDT
Referee: Alan Milliner
Assistant RefereeS: Hakan Anaz and George Lakrinidis
Fourth Official: Alex Azcurra
20.Andrew Redmayne, 6. Patrick Gerhardt, 8.Matthew Thompson (17.Jason Hoffman 90+3’), 11.Richard Garcia (9.Dylan Macallister 83’), 13.Jonathan Germano, 15.David Williams, 18. David Vrankovic, 21. Jamie Coyne, 22.Nick Kalmar, 25.Jeremy Walker, 36.Eli Babalj (14.Golgol Mebrahtu 76’).
Unused substitutes: 1.Clint Bolton.
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
1. Danny Vukovic, 2 Jack Clisby, 5 Steve Pantelidis, 8. Dean Heffernan (18. Matias Cordoba 76’), 9. Shane Smeltz, 10. Liam Miller, 13. Travis Dodd (12. Ryo Nagai 54’), 14. Steve McGarry (6. Nick Ward 81’), 17. Chris Harold, 19. Joshua Risdon, 23. Michael Thwaite.
Unused substitutes: 30. Lewis Italiano.
Yellow cards: Dean Heffernan 57’, Steve McGarry 79’.
Red cards: Nil.