Heart outgun Glory


An 87th-minute goal from Mate Dugandzic has seen Melbourne Heart produce a dramatic 2-1 victory over Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Saturday night.

An 87th-minute goal from Mate Dugandzic has seen Melbourne Heart produce a dramatic 2-1 victory over Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Saturday night.

The match looked headed for a 1-1 draw after Matt Thompson’s 33rd-minute strike for Heart was cancelled out by an equally good finish from Billy Mehmet two minutes later.

Glory controlled much of the play in the second half and produced several chances, but were caught out by the predatory Dugandzic, who nodded the ball home with three minutes remaining for Heart’s fifth win of the season, taking them back into third on the table ahead of Friday’s Melbourne derby clash with Victory.

But for Perth, their sixth loss in the last eight games sees them stay in seventh on the table and it won’t get any easier for Glory as they face ladder leader Central Coast next Friday night.

Glory’s defence had to be on high alert during the opening stages as the pacy Heart youngsters burst forward forcing Bas van den Brink to make an important block close to goal as early as the sixth minute.

But having found their rhythm, the hosts started threatening as a classy cross from Travis Dodd in the 22nd minute from the left found Mehmet at the far post, although the burly Irishman’s weak header was well saved by Clint Bolton on the line.

Heart were struggling to string their passes together and a poor ball from defence that simply trickled over the line was enough for coach John van ‘t Schip to leap from his chair and go ballistic at his players in the 26th minute.

His outburst worked wonders though, as Heart opened the scoring seven minutes later with a goal that came from nothing.

Shane Smeltz gave away possession in the front third, but the persistent Behich used this as a launching pad for a raid down the left that finished with him squaring the ball for Thompson, who brushed aside Josh Mitchell’s challenge and buried a powerful finish from 15 metres.

But the Glory were back on level terms within two minutes through a classy finish by Mehmet, his first goal since the opening week of the season.

It looked like the Heart were going to clear a promising Glory attack, but Dodd did well to pry the ball free of the Melbourne defenders, allowing Smeltz to take a touch and slip a pass through to Mehmet who found space and fired home a curling effort that just evaded Clint Bolton’s dive.

Two minutes from the break, a goalbound rocket from Burns smashed into Heart defender Adrian Madaschi’s head, while the Glory defence then did well during injury time to clear a promising move after Heart received a free kick on the very edge of the area.

Heart came close to going ahead once again six minutes after the break when Babalj found some space from a corner, but sent his free header wide of the left upright.

But aside from that early attempt, chances were few and far between for Melbourne during a much more open second half as Perth enjoyed the best of the play.

In the 64th minute, Bolton bravely blocked a quality cross from Todd Howarth as Smeltz lurked, while Smeltz poked a close-range shot over the bar with 15 minutes remaining, three minutes before Jacob Burns drilled another chance narrowly high.

Heart looked like they may be content to come away from Perth with the draw, but the visitors produced an emphatic sucker-punch with three minutes remaining.

Heart substitute Jason Hoffman did well to control the ball at the edge of the area, before laying the ball off to Behich whose powerful effort was palmed clear by Danny Vukovic, only for Dugandzic to nod home the rebound.

Perth Glory 1 (Mehmet 35)
Melbourne Heart 2 (Thompson 33, Dugandzic 87)
Crowd: 6458 at nib Stadium, Perth