Heart and Sydney can’t be separated

Melbourne Heart fans raise their banner prior to the game with Sydney FC on 27 November 2010. Photo: Roy Hay.

Melbourne Heart 0 Sydney FC 0 By Roy Hay Melbourne Heart and Sydney FC drew-nil at AAMI Stadium on Saturday night. With three former Sydney players in the Heart starters it might be expected that the sides might be familiar enough to cancel each other out, but in fact it was a relatively open game whose rhythm was upset by some fussy refereeing. The match report spilled over into two pages to record nine bookings, two of which to Sydney’s Sung-Hwan Byun in stoppage time led to his dismissal. A curious bit of programming by Football Federation Australia had Melbourne Heart play Sydney FC at 8.15 pm on Saturday. It was an atrocious night in the city with severe thunderstorm and flash flooding warnings on all the motorways. Just to compound the reasons for staying at home, the pay TV broadcaster Fox Sports broadcast the Newcastle game against David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy against the Melbourne gate. So it was rather impressive that the match drew 5,183 fans, including a vociferous and committed group of Cove and other Sydney fans. Both sides were short of full strength, but equally neither coach was willing to suggest that the replacements were anything other than first class. Heart began well and created some good openings early on. Josip Skoko was at the centre of three excellent Heart moves in the first fifteen minutes. He put Alex Terra away with a brilliant reverse pass, then released Adrian Zahra down the right only for the young winger to shoot wide and then he had a curling cross-shot of his own which was only just cleared by the Sydney defence.

Hayden Foxe and Ivan Necevski deny Alex Terra. Photo: Roy Hay

In Sydney’s most dangerous passage halfway through the first half, Michael Bridge fired in a shot which beat Clint Bolton only for skipper Colosimo to appear from nowhere to hook the ball off the very goal-line. Terry McFlynn fired the rebound back and Bolton punched it into the danger area where it ricocheted around before McFlynn hammered the loose ball high and wide. Heart gradually lost its way towards the end of the first half and coach John van’t Schip insisted on better ball retention and more pressure higher up the pitch in the second half. Nick Kalmar replaced Gerald Sibon in 56 minutes and Skoko fired in a free kick which Sydney keeper Ivan Necevski punched out nervously only for Wayne Shroj to place his return header wide of the post. Both sides had the ball in the net, but were recalled for offside, the decision against John Aloisi after he put away the rebound from an Alex Terra drive being very marginal. Mark Bridge was the Sydney player denied, but his case was much more clear cut. Skoko then limped off after suffering an upper leg injury being replaced by Brendan Hamill and Kalmar nutmegged his man out on the right but his shot was wayward, then Aloisi was robbed in act of shooting just metres from goal by a combination of keeper Necevski and Stuart Musialik. Both sides went hard at it to get a result in the final minutes and there was a series of bookings and one final Heart flurry in which Kalmar headed another chance wide. It would have been unfair on either side to have lost such an even game as both coaches, Simon Colosimo and Alex Brosque concurred. Match details Melbourne Heart 0. Sydney FC 0 Saturday, 27 November 2010 AAMI Park, Melbourne Local kick-off: 8:15pm Referee: Alan MILLINER Assistant referees: Hakan ANAZ and Shaun EVANS Fourth official: Lucien LAVERDURE Attendance: 5183 Melbourne Heart: 1. Clint BOLTON, 2. Michael MARRONE, 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 5. Michael BEAUCHAMP, 9. Gerald SIBON (22. Nick KALMAR 56’), 10. Wayne SRHOJ, 11. Alex TERRA (23. Dean HEFFERNAN 78’), 15. John ALOISI, 16. Aziz  BEHICH, 20. Josip SKOKO, (3. Brendan HAMILL 69’), 25. Adrian ZAHRA Unused substitutes: 12. Peter ZOIS Yellow cards: Simon COLOSIMO 17’, Aziz BEHICH 34’, Wayne SHROJ 38’, Michael MARRONE 70’, Nick KALMAR 79’ Red cards: Nil Sydney FC: 20. Ivan NECEVSKI, 2. Sebastian RYALL, 5. Hayden FOXE, 6. Hirofumi MORIYASU, (11. Kofi DANNING 82’), 7. Brendan GAN (24. Dimitri PETRATOS 63), 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN Unused substitutes: 1. Liam REDDY, 17. Matthew JURMAN Yellow cards: Stuart MUSIALIK 27’, Mark BRIDGE 47’, Sung-Hwan BYUN 92’ Red cards: Sung-Hwan BYUN 93’

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