Despotovic to fill Del Piero void

Sunday, 1 December 2013 10:12 AM

Substitute striker Ranko Despotovic – the man who cannot stop scoring – is set to start his first match for Sydney FC as replacement for marquee man Alessandro Del Piero.

Del Piero is in doubt for next weekend’s trip to Gosford to meet defending champions Central Coast after suffering a ‘tingling sensation’ in his left leg and leaving the field midway through the Sky Blues’ 2-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday night.

It could mean an elevation to the starting XI for Despotovic, who came off the bench for Del Piero and scored his second goal in as many weeks.

Asked if the Serb was a chance to be there from the kick-off next game, Sydney coach Frank Farina replied: “Yeah, definitely.

“We always planned to give him more time this week and it just happened he got a bit more than we were going to give him when Alessandro came off.

“He’s good and he’s in good condition in terms of shape. He may even start next week but we’ll see what happens.”

Most pleasing for Farina was the fact the wheels did not fall off once the influential Del Piero left the field.

Sydney continued to try and play football and finished by far the stringer side to make it four wins on the bounce.

Their fans are now daring to dream big after seeing their side move into second spot, but Farina is not getting carried away.

“I’ve always maintained that if you can string two, three, four wins in a row you’re going to rocket up the ladder,” Farina said.

“It’s nice to get four in a row but we’re only eight rounds in and we’ve got to keep going.

“We know within the dressing room and football department what we want to achieve and we know what we have to do to achieve that.

“But there’s absolutely no talk about anything else except what’s coming next.

“It’s nice to be winning though. Winning always breeds confidence.”Football Federation Australia

Van Egmond: Heskey, Taggart need time

Sunday, 1 December 2013 10:38 AM

Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond conceded it would take some time before the Jets bedded down the new Emile Heskey-Adam Taggart combination up front after the pair’s off night in the 2-0 loss to Sydney FC on Saturday.

Heskey’s return from injury forced Taggart, who had scored six goals in three games leading into the trip to Sydney, to play a more subdued role as a half midfielder, half striker.

It didn’t really work, with Taggart unable to get into the game and Heskey too often the target of meaningless long balls as Newcastle dropped points for the first time in four weeks.

“There were moments there where the combination looked good but it’s definitely a work in progress, that type of combination,” Van Egmond said.

“The issue that we get is it’s such an easy thing to do, to knock in the long ball, because nine times out of 10 he (Heskey) wins that ball in the air.

“But if you do anything over and over from a long ball, which is not really a safe ball where you’re going to keep possession, there’s also an opportunity of losing that ball.

“We have to get better in the way in which utilise Emile. If you keep overplaying that (long) ball, it becomes easier to pick the second ball up.

“It’s (the Heskey-Taggart combination) a little different and we’ll have a look at that and decide what to do.”

Despite their problems up front, the Jets did create enough to deserve to steal a point from the match.

Their most glaring miss of the night came after 57 minutes when Nathan Burns blazed over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

Three minutes later Sydney went up the other end and put the nail in the coffin with a second goal through replacement Ranko Despotovic.

“We had enough chances to win the game,” Van Egmond lamented.

“There were decent parts when we played quite well and there were other times where I thought Sydney had the ascendency.

“There is still plenty of work for us to get better.”


Football Federation Australia

Gombau’s tirade at ‘backstabbing’ media

Sunday, 1 December 2013 12:06 PM

Gombau's tirade at 'backstabbing' media

Adelaide United coach Josep Gombau has used a Saturday press conference to launch an extraordinary attack on a ‘backstabbing’ journalist before saying he was talking with club officials about a contract extension, comments subsequently denied by the Reds.

In a bizarre day, even by the standards of Adelaide United, Spaniard Gombau took aim at a local journalist who he felt was conspiring to prevent Gombau developing the type of football the coach wanted his team to play.

“What I don’t like is when people they lie, and when one is honest in front and after they put the knife in the back like some people,” said Gombau to a journalist from the Adelaide Advertiser.

“I am very honest. People like you, in front you make one face.

“Everybody is supporting me and we’ll go in this way. I think that the results will come.”

Heading into Sunday’s bottom-of-the-table clash with the winless Melbourne Heart, the Reds will be desperate to turn around a five-match winless run that goes back to their opening-round victory over Perth Glory.

Yet, despite the club only earning two points from this run of matches, Gombau said he had already been in talks with the club about an extension on his contract, one that is scheduled to finish at the end of next season.

However, a media release from the club itself soon disputed that version of events.

The statement read: “Gombau stated that following a Board meeting on Tuesday he had been tabled a two year contract extension. While discussions were held about Gombau’s longer term plans, the club confirms that no formal contract extension was or has been offered.”

According to Reds CEO Glenn Elliott, the Adelaide board is standing behind Gombau despite the poor run of results.

“Josep did meet with the Board, not as a matter of discussing his role but just as part of the general monthly football update, and he outlined where we’d come from, where we’ve progressed to and where we hope to get to,” said Elliott.

“Results were discussed but we all agreed that winning comes as a consequence of structures and styles of play. Josep was contracted for an initial two years and he indicated he is very happy and settled in Adelaide and with the way the team was progressing.

“He indicated he would be happy to stay longer but there were no formal discussions about any form of specific contract extension. Right now Josep is here for two years, he is happy with the club’s development, we are happy with him, and we will continue along that path.

In the media release, Gombau said his comments may have been somewhat lost in the translation from his native Spanish.

“We have spoken about the future and the Board gave me their full support,” Gombau said.

“It is true that we had some informal discussions about the longer term but the words I used and the way I explained the situation did not come out as I intended.”

In other A-League news, Perth Glory have decided not to proceed with a court challenge to the A-League’s match review panel over a two-match suspension for skipper Jacob Burns.

Glory chief executive Jason Brewer said he didn’t feel it was in the game’s interest to challenge the MRP at a Supreme Court level, despite the club being particularly disappointed with the outcome.

“We support the MRP, if it operates consistently, and this can only occur if it is focused on identifying and correcting obvious and major errors in the disciplinary decisions of the match officials. Inconsistencies will only undermine player and club confidence in the MRP process,” Brewer said.

“It is not the purpose of the MRP to review all incidents that it believes may have escaped the attention of the referee, particularly when the referee has had the clear opportunity to witness an incident, form an opinion and adjudicate. To do so goes very close to ‘re-refereeing’ the game which is firmly against the principles of FIFA.

“Our frustrations in this matter are further compounded by the current regulations, that do not hold the MRP accountable for their decisions, and do not entitle the Player or the Club to refer the matter to the Disciplinary Committee.”

Football Federation Australia

De Silva inspires Glory NYL goal spree

Sunday, 1 December 2013 1:53 PM

De Silva inspires Glory NYL goal spree

A Daniel De Silva-inspired Perth Glory proved far too strong for Brisbane Roar in their Foxtel National Youth League clash at Goodwin Park on Sunday, running away 7-2 winners.

The Brisbane defence was under pressure all afternoon as De Silva, Borbor Sam, Dnumba Makeche and Perth’s other gifted attacking players caused plenty of damage with their incisive play.

The Glory led 3-0 at half time thanks to goals from Makeche, Harry O’Brien and Isaka Cernak, then added four more after the break courtesy of Zahra (2), Makeche again and Brandon O’Neill.

Patrick Theodore and Brandon Borrello both scored for Brisbane in the second half to briefly give the home side hopes of a comeback.

The Roar were given an early warning sign when, seconds after kickoff, De Silva cut through the heart of the Brisbane midfield and sent in a cross for Makeche, only for the striker to head over.

Deft footwork from Devante Clut earned the Roar a free kick in a dangerous position on the left, and Dimitri Petratos curled the kick around the wall and into the side netting.

A minute later, Glory were ahead after De Silva’s pass pierced the defence to find Makeche, who buried the chance into the bottom corner.

The lively Perth left winger Borbor Sam skinned his defender before blasting straight at Crickmore in the 27th minute.

Further Glory pressure resulted in second goal when O’Brien’s shot from outside the box was deflected past the keeper.

In the 40th minute, Zahra forced Clickmore to work again with a low free kick, which the Roar custodian pushed around the post.

Perth found a third before the half time break when Cernak’s low shot, once again from outside the box, found the net.

The home side kept their chances of a fightback alive soon after the interval when Theodore curled a superb effort into the top right corner.

The Roar got within a goal when Borrello beat the offside trap and coolly rounded the keeper before passing the ball into the net.

A minute later, the margin was restored to two as Zahra slotted the Glory’s fourth.

De Silva nearly got the goal he deserved when he danced through the Brisbane defence, but Crickmore’s fingertips saved Brisbane from further blushes.

Zahra was left unmarked in the box and had no trouble finding the net from close range, before Makeche added a sixth with two minutes remaining as the Glory overwhelmed their hosts late on.

O’Neill completed the drubbing with a sublime free kick in injury time


Football Federation Australia

Sydney FC win top of the table NYL clash

Sunday, 1 December 2013 5:27 PM

Sydney FC win top of the table NYL clash

Sydney FC have maintained top spot on the table with a 3-2 win over Melbourne Victory in their Foxtel National Youth League clash at Cromer Park on Sunday.

Bouncing back from their first loss of the season to Brisbane Roar last week, Sydney were gifted the best possible start with Mitchell Mallia opening the scoring in the second minute.

Mallia intercepted an under-hit pass between Victory defenders before creating space for himself in the area, and curling his shot into the top right corner.

Just three minutes later the home side doubled their lead when Alec Urosevski latched on to a clever through ball before backing himself and firing it past Lawrence Thomas in the Victory goal.

Victory hit back on the half-hour mark. After a nice interchange of passing, Connor Pain found Christopher Cristaldo in space in the area and the midfielder finished from close range.

Five minutes before the break, Urosevski nearly had his second after another poor defensive clearance by the visitors, but was denied by the woodwork.

In first half stoppage time Mallia grabbed his second and Sydney’s third. Joshua Macdonald began the move making a fine run drifting in from his spot on the right wing past several Victory defenders.

His incisive pass then split the Victory back four wide open leaving Mallia one on one with the Keeper, with the striker making no mistake to secure his first half brace.

On 68 minutes, Victory reduced the deficit to one Lawrence Thomas in the Victory goal made a fine save to deny Joshua Macdonald with quick distribution releasing Scott Galloway down the right sideline.

Galloway then produced a looping through-ball for Anthony Proia who had only been on the field a matter of minutes. Proia outpaced two defenders and calmly chipped the ball over the advancing keeper to set up a tense finish.

Nikola Taneski had a chance to seal the win for Sydney five minutes from time but his close range shot produced a fine save from Thomas down to his right.

However, despite increased possession and promising build up work in the closing stages, Victory were unable to grab the late equaliser.

Sydney FC: 3 Mitchell Mallia (2’, 45’), Alec Urosevski (5’),
Melbourne Victory FC: 2 Christopher Cristaldo (31’), Anthony Proia (68’)

Sydney FC
1. Ivan Necevski, 3. Aaron Calver, 4. Jacob Tratt, 5. Daniel Petkovski (19. Joshua Symons 48m) , 6. Dylan Caton, 8. Max Burgess (16. Christopher Zuvela 60m), 9. Mitchell Mallia (7. Nikola Taneski 60m), 10. Hagi Gligor, 11. Alec Urosevski, 14. Joshua Macdonald, 15. Themba Muata-marlow.

Melbourne Victory FC
20. Lawrence Thomas, 3. Milos Ridesic, 5. Dylan Murnanae, 6. Jordan Brown (2. Christian Cavallo 56m), 7. Christopher Cristaldo (14. Anthony Proia 56m), 8. Luc Jeggo, 9. Jesse Makarounas, 10. John Buceto (12. Anthony Duzel 56m), 11. Connor Pain, 16. Scott Galloway, 17. Jimmy Jeggo.

Yellow Cards: Jacob Tratt (44’), Jimmy Jeggo (48’), Nikola Taneski (77’)
Red Cards:None 


Football Federation Australia

Brisbane roar past Wanderers in W-League

Sunday, 1 December 2013 6:11 PM

Brisbane roar past Wanderers in W-League

Brisbane Roar showed their quality to overcome a half-time deficit and overwhelm Western Sydney Wanderers 4-1 at Marconi Stadium in Sydney.

Katrina Gorry provided the star turn in nailing a second-half hat-trick, with the pint-sized midfielder continuing her recent sparkling form over the past week with the Westfield Matildas.

The win lifts Brisbane into a share of top spot on the Westfield W-League ladder alongside Melbourne Victory, as well as both Sydney FC and Canberra United whose match was postponed due to the Sky Blues participation in the Women’s Club World Championship.

It looked like the outcome would be very different for the Roar with the Wanderers edging a sluggish opening half for a deserved half-time lead.

Wanderers forward Catherine Cannuli showed typically poise to jink past one defender and deliver a sharp dipping shot over goalkeeper Kate Stewart, deputising for the injured Nadine Angerer.

It was one of the few highlights of a first-half lacking in fluency as both teams struggled to gain the ascendency in the warm conditions.

Wanderers’ American midfielder Shawna Gordon and Roar youngster Larissa Crummer both had sights of goal but in truth the two goalkeepers were rarely troubled.

The second half started in very different fashion with the Roar nailing two goals in three minutes to turn the contest, and the momentum, in a polar opposite direction.

Gorry equalised from the penalty spot four minutes after the interval, having earned the penalty after being pulled back by defender Caitlin Cooper following a trademark surge into the penalty area.

Then it was the turn of substitute Hayley Raso to get on the scoresheet with the former Canberra flyer neatly converting a through ball.

The star-studded Brisbane Roar, many of whom spent the past week in camp with the Matildas, suddenly had the ascendency both on the scoreboard and on the pitch though the home side battled gamely.

Gorry left fly from distance with a shot that had goalkeeper Dimi Poulos scrambling but she was not to be denied, and nabbed her second with nine minutes remaining by converting Amy Chapman’s smart cross.

It was little surprise when the energetic Gorry made the most of a tiring Wanderers defence to coolly convert her first W-League hat-trick during injury time.

Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Catherine Cannuli 43’)

Brisbane Roar 4 (Katrina Gorry 49’, 81’, 90’, Hayley Raso 51’)

Western Sydney Wanderers: 22. Dimi POULOS (gk), 2. Caitlin COOPER, 3. Shawna GORDON, 4. Camille LEVIN, 5. Emily VAN EGMOND, 6. Rachael SOUTAR, (28. Renee Tomkins 66’), 8. Jenna KINGSLEY, 12. Jess SEAMAN, 13. Catherine CANNULI, 16. Linda O’NEILL, 18. Helen Petinos
Substitutes – 20. Georgia ROWNTREE (gk), 11. Michelle CARNEY, 14. Alanna KENNEDY,
Cautions – Nil

Brisbane Roar: 20. Kate STEWART (gk), 2. Laura ALLEWAY, 3. Amy CHAPMAN, 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE, 5. Brooke SPENCE (14. Natasha WHEELER 82’), 6. Joanne BURGESS (18. Sunny FRANCO 71’), 7. Kim CARROLL, 8. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 9. Larissa CRUMMER (16. Hayley RASO 46’), 10. Katrina GORRY, 11. Vedrana POPOVIC
Substitutes – 1. Nadine ANGERER (gk),
Cautions – Hayley Raso 55’


Football Federation Australia

Sydney FC reach IWCC semi finals after Okayama win

Sunday, 1 December 2013 2:36 PM

Sydney FC reach IWCC semi finals after Okayama win

Sydney FC have reached the semi-finals of the International Women’s Club Championship after defeating the Japanese Nadeshiko League runners-up NTV Beleza 1-0 at the Kanko Stadium in Okayama.

Emma Kete’s 61st minute strike was the difference as the Sky Blues had the better of much of the game.

England’s FA Women’s Super League club Chelsea now stand between Alen Stajcic’s team and a place in next Sunday’s Final.

Stajcic named a strong starting line-up handing recent acquisition Anna Green her debut in the defence, and put a strong emphasis on attack with Taylor, Kete, Kerr, Khamis and Logarzo all named in the eleven.

After a quiet opening Sydney FC were the first to make a meaningful contribution on 15 minutes. Matilda Sam Kerr made a 30 metre run to the edge of the box where she unleashed a drive which just cleared the bar.

Sky Blues goalkeeper Casey Dumont needed to react quickly to keep the scores level just after the half hour. The former Brisbane stopper dived full length to her left to deny NTV Beleza after some inventive play inside the box and the sides went in 0-0 at the break.

The second half began well for Sydney FC with Ellyse Perry delivering a pinpoint cross to the head of Jodie Taylor but the effort was well saved by the NTV Beleza keeper.

Sydney’s goal came just after the hour mark. A long kick from keeper Dumont bounced and fell to Kete in the final third of the field and the striker picked up the ball and chipped the Japanese goalkeeper.

It was the goal which proved to be the difference for the Sky Blues who saw Caitlin Foord and Nicola Bolger come on from the bench in the final minutes and Dumont produce another great save to keep the opposition at bay.

Head Coach Alen Stajcic said: “I’m extremely pleased with the performance. To overcome the travel, playing away from home and playing a powerhouse club from a country which holds the World Cup, speaks volumes for the performance. I’m delighted for the team. The effort and discipline they put in to today’s game was outstanding.

“It really was a true team performance to use an old cliche. Anna Green was brilliant on debut, Chloe Logarzo worked tirelessly making her first start of the year and the save from Casey Dumont late in the game was truly world class.

“We take out a lot of confidence and knowledge that we deserve to be here, that Australian football can match it with the best around the world and that the Westfield W-League is a crucial part of the football landscape.

Sydney FC will take on Chelsea Ladies FC in the semi-final at Kanko Stadium in Okayama on Wednesday night (2030 AEDT). The winner will meet either South America’s 2012 Copa Libertadores Champions Colo Colo from Chile or the Champions of the Japanese Nadeshiko league INAC Kobe Leonessa in Sunday’s Final.

Football Federation Australia

Jean-Paul de Marigny joins coaching staff

Sunday, 1 December 2013 3:48 PM

Jean-Paul de Marigny joins coaching staff

Melbourne Victory has boosted its coaching ranks, with the highly experienced Jean-Paul de Marigny joining the club as Kevin Muscat’s Assistant Coach.

de Marigny was most recently the coach of New South Wales Premier League side Marconi Stallions and has also had stints at the Newcastle Jets and Sydney United Football Club, as well as being an assistant coach for the Australian Under 17s side in 2007 and 2008.

Muscat said de Marigny was a welcome addition to his coaching staff.

“I am thrilled to be able to have Jean-Paul join us as an assistant coach and I’m very much looking forward to having him commence as soon as possible,” Muscat said.

“Jean-Paul will be a great addition to our team and I know the players and the staff will benefit enormously from having him at the club.

“We’ve essentially been a man down since Ange’s (Postecoglou) departure and the entire coaching team have done a superb job assisting me in these past few weeks, but we certainly needed an extra pair of hands. We are all very much looking forward to working with Jean-Paul for the remainder of this A-League season, as well as in the lead up to our upcoming Asian Champions League qualifying campaign.”

The 49-year-old Australian has coached and helped develop several high-profile Australian players during his coaching tenures, including Mile Jedinak, James Holland, Dean Bouzanis and Nicky Carle, to name just a few.

de Marigny said he was thrilled to be returning to the Hyundai A-League coaching scene.

“I am very excited about coming to Melbourne and working with the biggest club in Australia,” de Marigny said.

“Kevin and I have already had in-depth discussions about what this role will entail and given the excellent state of the club’s squad and the high calibre of players on the list, I have no doubt the club is primed for success and I look forward to being part of that.”

de Marigny will start in his new role with Melbourne Victory on Monday, December 2.

Pic credit: The Area News


Football Federation Australia

Wanderers keep Phoenix winless

Sunday, 1 December 2013 5:06 PM

Wellington's Jeremy Brockie celebrates his goal against the Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium.

Wellington Phoenix are still searching for their first win of the season after battling to a goalless draw with Western Sydney Wanderers.

It was the Phoenix’s first game at Westpac Stadium since the round one loss to Brisbane Roar 49 days ago.

But even the comforts of home could not bring them a goal, nor a much-needed win.

Westpac Stadium used to be a fortress for the Phoenix but they have not won there for seven games now.

There is no doubt they are playing a more attractive, possession-based brand of football under coach Ernie Merrick, but the finishing in front of goal remains a work in progress.

Carlos Hernandez had the best chance for the home side midway through the first half and will cringe when he sees a replay of the shot he shanked wide.

Substitute Paul Ifill also went close in the dying minutes – forcing a save, then hitting the woodwork.
The Wanderers didn’t cover themselves in glory in the box either on Sunday with Michael Bridge blowing a chance of victory when he blasted over from close range with 13 minutes to go.

The Phoenix will probably be the most disappointed by the result as Louis Fenton and Stein Huysegems provided several quality deliveries into the box which deserved better finishing.

Hernandez has yet to score for the Phoenix and he will not get an easier chance than the one he blew in the 24th minute.

Great lead-up work by Huysegems saw the former Belgian striker cut inside his marker then split the defence with a pinpoint through ball but Hernandez completely miscued his shot and squirted it wide with the goal begging.

Kenny Cunningham, starting in place of the injured Jeremy Brockie (hamstring) had a couple of half-chances, including a deflected shot right on halftime which forced Ante Covic to make a smart save.

At the other end Labinot Haliti forced saves from Phoenix keeper Glen Moss at the near post twice in the first half but in general it was the home side that had the better chances as the visitors appeared to be missing the creativity of Shinji Ono (out with a groin injury) in midfield.

It was the yellow card that saw the most action in the opening 45 minutes with Phoenix trio Hernandez, hard-working Albert Riera and Cunningham and Wanderers midfielder Aaron Mooy booked by referee Lucien Laverdure.

Chance were few and far between early in the second half and Ernie Merrick and Tony Popovic turned to their benches looking for the breakthrough.

Paul Ifill replaced Jason Hicks then Michael Boxall came on for the tiring Hernandez and Tyler Boyd replaced Riera for the Phoenix, while Youssouf Hersi, who is on the comeback from a foot injury, replaced Tahj Minniecon.

Hersi was quickly in the action forcing Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante to put his body on the line as the Dutchman then Mooy rattled of shots in quick succession.
Hersi then fired in a superb cross from the right to Michael Bridge only for the striker to blast it well over.

It was the Phoenix who finished strongly though with Ifill forcing a smart one-handed save from Covic and then glancing the post right at the death.

The second half also saw further yellow cards to Michael Boxall, Manny Muscat, Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Shannon Cole.

Phoenix 0
Wanderers 0

Crowd @ Westpac Stadium 7,147


Football Federation Australia

Heart draw 3-3 with Adelaide United


Adelaide United denied Melbourne Heart a first victory of the A-League season in an entertaining 3-3 draw at AAMI Park on Sunday, with John Aloisi perhaps able to breathe a little easier following a spirited performance from his winless side.

It looked set to be another miserable afternoon for Heart when the visitors waltzed to an early 2-0 lead through Steven Lustica and Sergio Cirio.

Andrea Migliorini’s brace of memorable strikes and David Williams’ penalty saw Heart fight back to take a dramatic lead mid-way through the second half, before Marcelo Carrusca’s deflected free-kick meant the spoils were ultimately shared between two of the competition’s struggling sides.

Demonstrating the lack of defensive concentration which has cost them repeatedly so far this season, Heart conceded as early as the third minute from Adelaide’s first real foray forward.

Fabio Ferreira’s cross from the right flank was only partially cleared, allowing Lustica to unleash a shot which Patrick Kisnorbo blocked. The Reds midfielder gratefully pounced upon the rebound, dispatching the ball beyond Andrew Redmayne at the second attempt.

Heart should have equalised in the 14th minute, when Michael Mifsud was played clean through by Williams, only to see Eugene Galekovic smother the chance with a low save.

And the hosts were punished for that miss two minutes later, Redmayne spilling a shot from Jeronimo Neumann into the path of Cirio, who duly doubled Adelaide’s lead.

Heart’s woes in front of goal this season were epitomised in the 37th minute, when Mifsud got past an onrushing Galekovic, leaving the Adelaide goalkeeper stranded, only to dwell on the ball, allowing two defenders to get back.

The Malta international then dispatched his chipped attempt inches wide of the far post, somehow conspiring to miss when it seemed easier to score.

And the home team’s luck did not improve as the half wore on, with Kisnorbo, unmarked from a corner, shaving the same post from a header a minute before the break.

Heart might have been dead and buried nine minutes into the second term, when only a desperate Kisnorbo block prevented Cirio from making it 3-0.

But two minutes later, Migliorini provided the home team – and their embattled coach – with a spectacular lifeline.

Receiving the ball in a seemingly harmless position part-way into the Adelaide half, the Italian midfielder took a touch and advanced casually, before unleashing an unstoppable shot from at least 25 metres out, leaving Galekovic with no chance.

The resulting celebration was instructive. A section of the Heart’s supporters may have given up on Aloisi, but his players have not, Miglorini heading straight for his coach, to be joined by several team-mates in an emotional embrace on the sidelines.

The goal sparked Heart into life, substitute Golgol Mebrahtu cutting side and forcing Galekovic into a good save, only for the passage of play to be ruled offside.

In the 66th minute they were rewarded for their renewed endeavours. A quick ball over the top released Aziz Behich down the left flank. The fullback cut the ball back to Migliorini, who followed up his earlier effort with another dynamic effort from distance, sparking wild celebrations.

If Heart have been unfortunate at times this season, they finally caught a break with 20 minutes to go, when Gerhardt’s header from a corner stuck the upper body of Tarek Elrich.

Fans and players appealed for a penalty and referee Strebre Delovski, after a moment’s consideration, was convinced, despite replays suggesting the Adelaide defender used his chest to block the shot. That made no difference to Williams, who held his nerve to convert from the spot.

The momentum was now all with Heart, and they looked set to romp away to a fairytale victory. But Adelaide were not so easily dispatched, and enjoyed their own slice of good fortune when Carrusca’s free-kick clipped the defensive wall, looping past Redmayne to draw the visitors level.

Neither side proved able to force a winner in the time remaining, but Aloisi is now likely to live to fight another day, while his Adelaide counterpart Josep Gombau will face more questions about his talented team’s inability to convert promising performances into positive results.

Melbourne Heart 3 (Migliorini 56′, 66′, Williams p. 70′)
Adelaide United 3 (Lustica 3′, Zullo 16′, Carrusca 76′)

6,002 @ AAMI Park


Football Federation Australia