Reds back on track
Adelaide United have recorded their first win in Melbourne in over four years, returning to form with a clinical 2-0 win over the Heart at AAMI Park to close the gap on league leaders Brisbane.
Adelaide have recorded their first win in Melbourne in over four years, returning to form with a clinical 2-0 win over the Heart at AAMI Park to close the gap on league leaders Brisbane.
The Reds' long losing streak against Victory is becoming the stuff of legend, but they have triumphed in their two games against the Heart, both times defying both weight of possession and shots at goal to prevail.
In this match, they took an early lead through Robbie Cornthwaite, who latched onto a Cassio free kick in the fifth minute, before sitting back and watching the home side pepper the goal without reward for much of the next hour.
Just as Heart looked a real shot at getting something out of the game after a string of chances tested Reds' keeper Eugene Galekovic, the visitors bobbed up with a second on 73 minutes after an audacious chip from substitute Iain Ramsey was initially cleared by Aziz Behich, only for Marcos Flores to follow up and put the ball into the net.
The result was as much a reflection of the naivety of a young Heart side which was unable to turn their dominance into goals as it was a tribute to Adelaide's professionalism.
This was far from the Reds best performance of the season, but coach Rini Coolen would have been pleased that after three losses in four games, they were able to break their long Victorian drought and keep in touch with the Roar, who play North Queensland in Townsville on Saturday night. Adelaide return home to host Gold Coast United next Friday.
Heart, who slump to successive losses for the first time in their short history, remain fifth regardless of results elsewhere this weekend and now undertake a tough trip to Wellington for a clash with Phoenix next Wednesday before hosting Sydney next Saturday.
Adelaide scored from the first decent chance of the game after winning a free kick in a dangerous area. Cassio delivered perfectly and after Iain Fyfe nudged out John Aloisi, Cornthwaite rose well to head home and give the Reds the lead.
Thirteen minutes in, Fyfe had a chance to double the advantage, flicking on Travis Dodd's cross, only for Clint Bolton to parry in a spectacular manner.
That was to be the Reds' last decent chance of the half as they sat back and controlled the tempo, and challenged Heart to create the chances.
They had three or four over the course of the first 45 minutes, with the first - a 19th-minute header from Gerald Sibon which forced a save from Eugene Galekovic - the best of them. Sibon had another shot blocked by van Dijk soon after while Wayne Srhoj's effort late in the half was cleared by Travis Dodd.
Melbourne very much got themselves into the game early in the second half after Aloisi hit a shot straight at Galekovic and Behich's corner was tipped over the bar. Sibon was given an excellent chance from a Rutger Worm cross on 63 minutes, but again the shot was straight forward.
The big Dutchman then had his free kick saved, Alex Terra flicked on a shot and Eli Babalj couldn-t test Galekovic.
All those wasted chances came back to hurt them when Adelaide moved the ball well through van Dijk and Cameron Watson out to Ramsey on the left. He opted to chip an advancing Bolton and while Behich was able to head it clear via the bar, Flores was there to close it out and seal the win.
Sibon's frustrating evening continued as he hit the post from another free kick soon after and it was clear it was not going to be the home side's night.
Melbourne Heart 0 Adelaide United 2 (Cornthwaite 5, Flores 73) Crowd: 6538 at AAMI Park