Melbourne derby ends in stalemate

Melbourne Victory 0 Melbourne Heart 0

Roy Hay

The first Melbourne derby of the 2011-12 season ended in a scoreless draw.

For the third match in succession Melbourne Victory failed to score a goal, despite a plethora of chances for its high profile stars and Melbourne Heart always looked the more likely to break the deadlock.

Once again two good keepers had excellent games with Ante Covic for Victory being by far the busier, while Clint Bolton added solidity and experience when needed for Heart.

It was all Heart in the opening minutes. The red and whites poured forward and returning veteran Simon Colosimo found Mate Dugandzic in space on the right and his shot was deflected for a corner kick after 3 minutes.

An even better chance arrived after 15 minutes when Matt Thompson, playing in midfield for the first time this year got clear of the Victory defence on the left.

He could have gone for goal himself but headed the ball down to Alex Terra whose shot went straight at Covic.

Victory rebounded straight away and Archie Thompson managed to round Colosimo by Clint Bolton dealt with the shot.

David Williams had a good charging run but shot wide, then a neat back-heel by Terra put Jonatan Germano clear but his effort was deflected for a corner kick.

Alex Terra makes a break from midfield

Referee Strebre Delovski booked Matt Thompson for a dive, but there was little doubt that Rodrigo Vargas caught his leg in the incident. Luckily it passed without further ado.

Heart had the best of a scoreless first half. Several good passing moves which broke down in front of the Victory defence in which young Petar Franjic stood tall.

On the stroke of half time, Heart cut through the centre with Dugandzic and Terra and Michael Marrone joined in only be robbed by the anticipation of Covic.

Jean Carlos Solarzano replaced Isaka Cernak at the start of the second half, and Victory switched to a loose four-four-two and came into the game for a period.

The striker had three chances in four minutes of play around the hour mark.

After Leigh Broxham broke up an attack by Heart he found Marco Rojas but Solarzano struck his shot well over from the winger’s cross.

Marco Rojas about to set up a Victory attack

Solarzano then showed neat close control to beat a couple of defenders only for Bolton to take the ball off his toes.

Rojas got to the bye-line and squared the ball along the line but once again Bolton anticipated Solarzano’s close range shot.

Heart swapper Brazilian strikers in 67 minutes with Maycon coming on for Alex Terra.

A double substitution in 73 mintues saw young Jason Hoffman replace Thompson for Heart, while Victory launched Carlos Hernandez in place of Rojas.

Hoffmann had an immediate impact with a fiercely driven grounder which stung the hands of Covic.

Hoffmann and David Williams for Victory both spurned good openings with weak shots and game gradually petered out, though Dugandzic had another low strike saved and Maycon did all the hard work in beating a series of defenders only to spray his shot well wide of goal.

Victory banner with crushed Heart

Mehmet Durakovic pleaded for time for his charges to adapt to the structure he wanted and to gain full fitness in the case of star import Harry Kewell, but Matthew Foschini was more critical of the team’s performance saying all of them had to lift and stop playing for themselves and instead play for the team.

John van’t Schip was happy that his team played without fear this week, but disappointed that the numerous chances failed to yield any goals. He thought his experienced players brought new life to the team and the younger members raised their games accordingly.

An away point is a better result for Heart but still leaves it at the bottom of the ladder, with Victory only one point ahead.

Flare among the Heart fans

Both teams need to start winning soon.

Match details

Melbourne Victory 0 Melbourne Heart 0

Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

Local kick-off: 7.45pm

Referee: Strebre Delovski

Assistant referees: Matthew Cream and Ashley Beecham

Fourth official: Lucien Laverdure

Attendance: 39,039

Melbourne Victory

21. Ante Covic, 2. Matthew Foschini, 3. Fabio, 4. Petar Franjic, 6. Leigh Broxham, 8. Grant Brebner, 10. Archie Thompson, 11. Marco Rojas (16.Carlos Hernandez 73’), 12. Rodrigo Vargas, 19. Isaka Cernak (9. Jean Carlos Solorzano 46’), 22. Harry Kewell.

Unused substitutes: 20. Lawrence Thomas (GK), 7. Matthew Kemp

Yellow cards: Matthew Foschini 52’

Red cards: Nil

Melbourne Heart

1.Clint Bolton, 2.Michael Marrone, 4.Simon Colosimo, 6.Matt Thompson (17.Jason Hoffman 73’), 10.Wayne Srhoj, 11.Alex Terra (9.Maycon 67’), 13.Jonatan Germano, 15.David Williams, 16.Aziz Behich, 18.Curtis Good, 23.Mate Dugandzic

Unused substitutes: 30 Sebastian Mattei; 3.Brendan Hamill,

Yellow cards: Matt Thompson 42’, Aziz Behic 48’

Red cards: Nil

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