Heart break Brisbane’s home run


Brisbane Roar have suffered their second defeat in as many games as a solid Melbourne Heart outfit claimed all three points with a 2-1 victory at Suncorp Stadium tonight.

Brisbane Roar have suffered their second defeat in as many games as a solid Melbourne Heart outfit claimed all three points with a 2-1 victory at Suncorp Stadium tonight.

Two goals in the opening half hour were enough to secure the points for John van-t Schip-s side as Mitch Nichols- late strike proved only a consolation.

Head Coach Ange Postecoglou sprung a selection surprise ahead of kick-off, naming one of Brisbane-s full-time youth players Nick Fitzgerald as one of his starting eleven.

Fitzgerald replaced Henrique, who failed to recover from a cork sustained against Sydney FC last Sunday, while playmaker Thomas Broich (heel) and super substitute James Meyer (groin) were left out of the 15-man squad completely.

The 19-year-old had a chance to make an immediate impact five minutes into the match after Besart Berisha flicked a Ivan Franjic cross towards an open space in the middle of the penalty area but Fitzgerald-s run was too late for the movement of the ball.

Six minutes later, the Roar were faced with an early mountain to climb when Mate Dugenadzic-s corner was met cleanly with the head of Heart-s Jonatan Germano.

The Argentinian guided the ball past Brisbane goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos and into the back of the net before producing a Santa hat in a comical celebration, earning him a yellow card from referee Kris Griffiths-Jones.

On the 27 minute mark, the Roar found themselves facing a two-goal deficit for the second week in a row- this time Melbourne youngster Eli Babalj making the most of some uncharacteristically hesitant defending from the home side.

Goal scorer Germano evaded the offside trap and curled the ball across the face of goal to teammate Mate Dugandzic, whose quick touch set up Babalj to score his second goal of the campaign.

Brisbane looked more composed in the second half with their usual, passing game on display while the Heart defence were compact but content to sit behind the ball.

Postecoglou made a double change twenty minutes after the restart, introducing Rocky Visconte and Kofi Danning at the expense of Nakajima-Farran and Massimo Murdocca in an attempt to spice up the Roar attack, the appearance Visconte-s first this Hyundai A-League season.

The substitutes combined with less than 15 minutes left in the contest and their contributions proved decisive as Visconte-s well-placed pass found Danning on the right-wing and the lively striker beat the defender to play the ball into the penalty area.

Mitch Nichols pounced on the fortunate rebound off a Melbourne
defender and suddenly, Brisbane were back in the game.

Fitzgerald and Nichols clashed as they both chased the same ball before a free-kick from Berisha saw captain Matt Smith slice the ball just wide of the upright as Postecoglou-s men looked to bank on their momentum.

In stoppage time, Erik Paartalu was close to a dramatic last-minute equaliser from another Berisha delivery but the comeback was too late and Heart claimed the full points as the Roar slumped to their second loss in as many outings.

Postecoglou admitted his team were below par on the night but was still able to take positives from the late resurgence that saw the majority of possession back in Brisbane-s favour as well as the goal from Nichols.

“The first half wasn-t great,” he said.

“We gave the ball away too much and the way we play our game, if we give the ball away too much not only does it mean we don-t create much but it gives the opposition opportunities.

“They took their goals and our second half was better, we pushed on and dominated the game like usually do but couldn-t get the second goal and we fell short.”

Brisbane Roar 1 (Mitch NICHOLS 78-)
Melbourne Heart 2 (Jonatan GERMANO 11-, Eli BABALJ 27-)
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kris Griffiths-Jones
Crowd: 10, 666

Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH (c), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 4. Matt JURMAN, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Besart BERISHA, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA (9. Kofi DANNING 65-), 11. Issey NAKAJIMA-FARRAN (14. Rocky VISCONTE 65-, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 24. Nick FITZGERALD

Substitutes (not used): 16. Mohamed ADNAN, 30. Matthew ACTON (gk)

Yellow cards: Massimo MURDOCCA 23-, Matt JURMAN 89-

Red cards: Nil

Melbourne Heart: 1. Clint BOLTON, 2. Michael MARRONE, 3. Brendan HAMILL, 5. FRED, 6. Mayy THOMPSON, 7. Rutger WORM (9. MAYCON 74-), 13. Jonatan GERMANO (18. Curtis GOOD 79-), 16. Aziz BEHICH, 19. Eli BABALJ (17. Jason HOFFMAN 61-), 23. Mate DUGANDZIC, 25. Adrian MADASCHI

Substitutes (not used): 30. Sebastian MATTEI

Yellow cards: Jonatan GERMANO 12-, Rutger WORM 20-, Michael MARRONE 79-

Red cards: Nil