Brisbane Roar has fallen to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park.
On the back foot early in the contest, the Roar struggled to find any fluidity or during the game and were made to pay dearly by the home side.
Heart were the first to threaten, but Michael Theo stood tall in the Brisbane goal to deny Mate Dugandzic one-on-one inside the first 10 minutes.
Melbourne had another chance two minutes later from a free-kick on the edge of the box, but Nick Kalmar put the effort well over the top of Theo’s goal.
Josip Tadic stung Theo’s hands on 16 minutes, but the Roar keeper got comfortably behind the effort.
Heart finally took the lead on 20 minutes when Patrick Gerhardt latched onto a near post cross from Dugandzic from the right hand side of the Heart attack.
Brisbane tried to break down the Heart defence and created chances, but couldn’t find the target with their efforts at goal.
The Roar thought they’d drawn level with five minutes remaining in the half when Nichols chased down a Paartalu through ball and played the ball to Henrique who stuck it away, but the official on the far side had his flag up to signal he felt the ball had gone out for a goal kick.
Brisbane opened the second half strongly with both Matt Smith and Ben Halloran shots blocked inside the first five minutes of the restart.
The away side continued to knock on the door as the half wore on, but couldn’t find the killer finish draw level.
Against the run of play Heart doubled their lead on 62 minutes when Richard Garcia found himself on the end of a Tadic cross and able to chip over Theo.
The goal triggered the Heart and they had a chance to Hoffman, which was saved in great fashion by Theo, and Tadic who put the ball over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Things did get worse for Brisbane on 71 minutes when Tadic converted a penalty won by Garcia.
Substitute David Williams then added to Brisbane’s pain two minutes later when he ran on to Aziz Behich’s ball from the sideline and slotted home from range.
Henrique got a consolation for the visitors on 82 minutes when he tapped home an Ivan Franjic cross.
Theo then pulled off one of the saves of the season to deny Dugandzic when is seemed a foregone conclusion he would add the fifth goal for Heart.
In the end neither side could add any further goals and Heart cruised to a comfortable victory.
Captain Matt Smith acknowledged the performance was not up to standard on the night.
“We didn’t get any fluidity into our game at all,” Smith said.
“But right now we need to stay strong as a team and as a club.
“We need to get out there next week on the training track work even harder to make sure nothing like this happens again.”
Melbourne Heart (Gerhardt 20’, Garcia 62’, Tadic (pen) 71’, Williams 73’)
Brisbane Roar (Henrique 82’)
at AAMI Park, Melbourne
Melbourne Heart: 1. Clint Bolton (GK), 2. Michael Marrone, 4. Simon Colosimo, 6. Patrick Gerhardt, 8. Matt Thompson (capt), 10. Josip Tadic (9. Dylan Macallister 82’), 11. Richard Garcia, 16. Aziz Behich, 17. Jason Hoffman, 22. Nicholas Kalmar (15. David Williams 61’), 23. Mate Dugandzic.
Substitutes not used: 20. Andrew Redmayne (GK), 24. Samuel Mitchinson.
Yellow cards: Gerhardt (37’), Hoffman (49’), Colosimo (76’)
Red cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael Theo, 2. Matt Smith, 3. Shane Stefanutto (19. Jack Hingert 83’), 4. Matt Durman, 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paartalu, 8. Massimo Murdocca (18. Luke Brattan 65’), 10. Henrique, 11. Ben Halloran, 17. Mitch Nichols (24. Nick Fitzgerald 69’), 22. Thomas Broich.
Substitutes not used: 20. Matt Acton (GK).
Yellow cards: Jurman (10’), Smith (61’)
Red cards: Nil