Victory fall to Heart in first derby

The Victory have gone down 2-1 to new boys the Heart in front of 25,897 fans at AAMI Park for the first Hyundai A-League Melbourne derby on Friday night.

The Victory have gone down 2-1 to new boys the Heart in front of 25,897 fans at AAMI Park for the first Hyundai A-League Melbourne derby on Friday night.

Goals to John Aloisi in the first half and Alex Terra after the break were enough to seal the points for the Heart even though they finished the game with 10 men following Aziz Behich’s send-off, while Robbie Kruse had equalised for the Victory minutes before half-time.

The result means the Victory drop one position on the ladder to sixth behind Wellington Phoenix while Heart remain in eighth place despite joining those teams and Perth Glory on 11 points because of inferior goal difference.

After a couple of early chances that weren’t converted by either side, it was the Heart that grabbed the lead when Terra beat Rody Vargas to a ball from Wayne Srhoj and then cut back a cross on the turn to where Aloisi out-leapt Tom Pondeljak to head home.

A Carlos Hernandez free kick almost reached Kruse at the back post in the 17th minute but Michael Marrone cleared the danger before two minutes later a superb chip pass from Hernandez was volleyed by Ricardinho but the ball flashed just wide.

Adrian Leijer picked up the first yellow card of the game in the 22nd minute and the next two opportunities fell to the Heart with Surat Sukha heading clear with Aloisi lurking before Aloisi glanced a shot against the post and Leijer was able to clear the rebound.

But having failed to dominate in the first half an hour Victory scored against the run of play when they won a free kick 40m from goal on the right, with Muscat taking the kick quickly in trademark fashion and finding Kruse at the far post to poke home past Bolton.

Grant Brebner replaced Leigh Broxham within seconds of the goal and the final chance of the half came when Muscat was yellow-carded for fouling Terra, with Gerald Sibon blasting into the wall from the front of the box.

Having had Aloisi booked in the first half the Heart picked up the first yellow card of the second half to Aziz Behich against his former team before Brebner was also booked just under 10 minutes after the resumption.

The Heart went ahead again soon after when Rutger Worm took possession down the left and fired in a cross to the far post where both Terra and Sibon were waiting with the fleet-footed Terra beating his much bigger team-mate Sibon to the ball to volley home.

Sukha was replaced by Mate Dugandzic almost immediately after before both Billy Celeski and Ricardinho picked up yellow cards, the booking to the Brazilian his final act of the game before he came off for Geoff Kellaway.

After Kellaway didn’t shoot when he steamed onto the end of a superb Hernandez through ball, Hernandez himself got on the end of a bullet-like cross in the 71st minute but directed his header just over the bar.

Behich’s second booking for a foul on Kruse led to his dismissal with 16 minutes left and it also resulted in a double change from the Heart as Adrian Zahra came on for Sibon and Nicholas Kalmar for Josip Skoko.

The Victory couldn’t capitalise on their numerical advantage though despite a late goalmouth scramble that the Heart desperately managed to clear and a goal-bound header from Brebner that Bolton covered.

Melbourne Heart 2 (Aloisi 10, Terra 56)
Melbourne Victory 1 (Kruse 37)