Heart sink Gold Coast


Melbourne Heart have condemned Gold Coast United to a club record third consecutive defeat with a gritty 2-1 win at Skilled Park on Friday night.

Melbourne Heart have condemned Gold Coast United to a club record third consecutive defeat with a gritty 2-1 win at Skilled Park on Friday night.

Goals from midfielder Matt Thompson and Argentine anchor Jonathan Germano were enough to lift the Heart into the top five and four points clear of United, who remain in bottom place.

Billed as a meeting between two sides who have thus far gone unrewarded despite playing passages of beautiful football, in reality the Heart were the more fluent and certainly deserved winners.

The hosts were made to pay for their sluggish start when Thompson goaled and though they looked capable of mounting a comeback early in the second half after a stunning 63rd-minute free kick from Peter Jungschlager leveled things up, the Heart bounced back immediately.

Thompson was involved again, playing a lovely looping ball over the hosts’ defence and Germano was first to it with his boot, guiding the ball into the back of the net past a helpless Glen Moss.

For so long, defence has been Gold Coast’s greatest strength but for vast periods of the match – and in particular, the first 10 minutes – they were cut to ribbons by a mobile and dangerous Heart side.

Their short passing and clever interplay was too much for United and they edged ahead just four minutes in after pouncing on one of many turnovers.

As they pressed forward, Dutch winger Rutger Worm – in his first appearance for the Heart this season – held up the ball brilliantly in the box waiting for Thompson to make his run.

When he did, he slipped the ball past Moss – making amends for missing a chance from almost the exact same position barely 60 seconds earlier.

Gold Coast soon awoke from their early slumber and fashioned a number of opportunities on goal as the half wore on – but their shining light up front was undoubtedly Maceo Rigters.

The Dutchman looked like he was going to make something happen with every touch, and almost restored parity in 12th minute after he was threaded a quality ball from compatriot Paul Beekmans.

Rigters unleashed a powerful drive from a difficult angle, but his shot thundered into the crossbar and away to safety.

Just before the interval, the woodwork thwarted United once again – only this time it kept an innocuous-looking cross from youngster Mitch Bevan from slipping into the back of the net at the far post.

Still, on the balance of play it was the red-and-whites who had the better chances in the first half – and they could and should have been up by more than just the one goal.

Brazilian forward Maycon was the main culprit, fluffling a number of shots – most notably, sending a free header over the bar in the 20th minute – while Germano spurned another good opportunity at the half-hour mark.

But that was hardly playing on the minds of Gold Coast, who came out in the second half refreshed and with a renewed sense of purpose.

Rigters was back to his bullocking best, earning his side the free kick from just outside the box in the 63rd minute that would ultimately put them level.

From 20 yards, Junschlager’s tracer-bullet dead ball – which went straight through the Heart wall at a low trajectory, off the left upright and in – was a moment of brilliance that his team-mates tried to rally around.

But five minutes later, they let their guard down and the Heart shattered United’s hopes of a comeback through Germano’s sucker-punch goal.

Melbourne Heart 2 (Thompson 4, Germano 68)
Gold Coast United 1 (Jungschlager 63)
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