Despite an improved second half performance, Melbourne Heart FC were unable to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Sydney FC in Harvey Norman Friday Night Football at AAMI Park.
The visitors opened the scoring from a penalty in the 27th minute, with Sky Blues captain Alessandro Del Piero converting from the spot, before they added their second through Joel Chianese in first-half stoppage time.
Nick Kalmar made his first start for the Red and White this season, while Paulo Retre retained his spot in the starting eleven after impressing last week against Western Sydney Wanderers.
The youngster was one of Heart’s best and it was the number 28 who set up the first chance of the game for striker Michael Mifsud who went close to scoring in the 13th minute.
After beating the offside trap, Mifsud was left one-on-one with Sydney stopper Vedran Janjetovic, but Mifsud’s quick effort on the turn was fired into Janjetovic’s body.
Melbourne Heart’s keeper Andrew Redmayne was also called into action, making two fine saves – first from a Chianese effort, and then from Nick Carle.
But Redmayne was powerless to stop the opener as Del Piero slotted home from the penalty spot on 27 minutes, following a foul on Chianese in the box.
The Red and White’s task was made more difficult after Chianese netted the Sky Blues’ second at the back post in first-half injury time.
Knowing the task at hand, Melbourne Heart came out with intent in the second period and created numerous chances to pinch a goal back, with Iain Ramsay injected to add further pace to the front line.
Aziz Behich set the tone for his side in the 63rd minute, racing on to a through ball into the box, but his strike from a tight angle was saved by Janjetovic.
Heart managed to fashion 12 shots throughout the game and it was telling that six came in the final 15 minutes as the side pushed for a goal.
However, while the Red and White turned the screw and forced Sydney to sit back and defend its lead, a goal proved elusive.
David Williams worked a great chance for himself five minutes from time, but after stealing the ball from Ali Abbas outside the area his effort went just wide of Sydney’s goal.
In injury time Mifsud had yet another chance to find the net, but after good play from David Williams down the right, Mifsud’s effort was acrobatically cleared on the edge of the six yard box.
Substitute Golgol Mebrahtu was able to fire one last chance away before the final whistle blew, but his best effort of the game was well saved by Janjetovic.
Match DetailsFriday, 15 November 2013Hyundai A-League Round 6Melbourne Heart FC 0Sydney FC 2 (Alessandro Del Piero 27’ [PEN], Joel Chianese 45+1’,)AAMI ParkHT: 0-2Referee: Alan MillinerAttendance: 8,941
Melbourne Heart FC Starting XI: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 2. Jeremy WALKER (21. Stefan MAUK 77’) 3. Robbie WIELAERT, 6. Patrick GERHARDT, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 11. Michael MIFSUD, 15. David WILLIAMS, 16. Aziz BEHICH, 22. Nicholas KALMAR (7. Iain RAMSAY 45’), 23. Mate DUGANDZIC (14. Golgol MEBRAHTU 63’), 28. Paolo RETRESubstitutes not used: 18. David VRANKOVIC, 20. Tando VELAPHI (GK),Yellow Cards: Michael MIFSUD 27’, Iain RAMSAY 67’, Patrick GERHARDT 81’, David WILLIAMS 88’Red Cards: Nil
Sydney FC Starting XI: 2. Sebastian RYALL, 6. Nikola PETKOVIC, 7. Brett EMERTON (5. Matthew JURMAM 65’), 8. Pedj BOJIC (15. Terry MCFLYNN 80’) 10. Alessandro DEL PIERO, 11. Richard GARCIA, 16. Joel CHIANESE (21. Yairo YAU 83’), 19. Nick CARLE, 20. Vedran JANJETOVIC (GK), 22. Ali ABBAS, 27. Chris NAUMOFFSubstitutes not used: 29. Alex UROSEVSKI 30. Anthony BOUZANIS (GK)Yellow Cards: Brett EMERTON 47’, Ali ABBAS 58’, Terry MCFLYNN 90’Red Cards: Nil