Victory and Heart have played out a tense goalless draw in their Melbourne derby season opener at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
Melbourne’s Hyundai A-League derby has failed to live up to expectations as the Victory and the Heart played out a tense 0-0 draw at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
Both teams lacked cutting edge in the attacking third as few clear-cut chances were created in front of a derby record crowd of 45,202.
Harry Kewell, in Heart colours for the first time and playing against his former club, threatened with his creativity, while Victory marquee Pablo Contreras was impressive at centre-back.
But neither side deserved three points as the Melbourne derby finished in a scoreless draw for the third time in 10 meetings.
The Victory dominated possession in the early exchanges but it was the Heart who created the first real chance on 11 minutes.
David Williams burst clear down the left and squared a pass for Mate Dugandzic, who sliced his shot wide from just outside the area.
Ange Postecoglou’s men looked the more likely to carve out chances, yet it was again the Heart who perhaps should have gone ahead 10 minutes later.
Kewell’s delightful pass released Golgol Mebrahtu and attracted Victory goalkeeper Nathan Coe.
The striker’s touch saw him round the shot-stopper, but he lacked composure and his curled shot from inside the area was too tame to trouble the Victory goal.
John Aloisi’s side needed a stunning save from Andrew Redmayne, who had made a nervous start, to keep them on level terms just before the half-hour mark.
A scramble in the area after a corner led to Adrian Leijer’s shot from close range, but Redmayne somehow kept it out with his legs.
Stand-in Victory captain Leigh Broxham forced another save from the Heart goalkeeper soon after with his strike which was directed straight at Redmayne following a Patrick Kisnorbo error.
Kewell fired a half-chance wide four minutes before half-time and Mebrahtu somehow failed to hit the target on the turn inside the area when the 58-time Socceroo cushioned down a chance for him.
Just two minutes into the second half and the Victory were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty.
Adama Traore’s shot from inside the area struck the outstretched arm of Kisnorbo, but referee Peter Green waved away the protests.
Williams curled an effort well over on the hour-mark before Archie Thompson had the best chance of the second half on 73 minutes and he should have buried his header.
A penetrating run by Chilean defender Contreras led to James Troisi’s cross from the left, but an unmarked Thompson directed his header well wide.
Substitute Andrew Nabbout squandered a late chance on the counter-attack in the last real opportunity of a forgettable encounter.
Melbourne Victory 0
Melbourne Heart 0
Crowd: 45,202 @ Etihad Stadium