Heart too good for Adelaide


Melbourne Heart have recorded a 1-0 victory over Adelaide United in their National Youth League clash at Burton Park on Saturday afternoon.

Melbourne Heart have recorded a 1-0 victory over Adelaide United in their National Youth League clash at Burton Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Heart struggled to repress the Young Reds’ attacks in the first half, but performed with renewed confidence and vigour in the second to hold onto their lead courtesy of Eli Babalj’s first-half goal.

Melbourne’s new signing Adrian Madaschi, who did not get clearance in time to feature for the first team on Friday night, was impressive and did not put a foot wrong on his first appearance in the red and white, handling Adelaide’s attackers with ease.

In what looked more like a senior Hyundai A-League game with the likes of over-age players Madaschi, Rutger Worm and Kristian Sarkies lining up for the Heart, and Nigel Boogaard, Fabian Barbiero and Daniel Mullen appearing for the Reds, it was Adelaide who had all the run in the first half.

Preferring to attack down the right through Qantas Joeys U17 representative Jake Monaco and Barbiero, Adelaide created their first chance through some intelligent interplay between the duo in conjunction with striker Evan Kostopoulos on 14 minutes.

After some neat wing play, Barbiero fed Kostopoulos who ran at Heart’s defence before crossing for Teeboy Kamara, only for the striker to head his effort over the bar after peeling off at the back post.

Repelling United’s efforts, the Heart finally found their first chance in the 20th minute via Sarkies’ thunderous 30-yard free kick that was denied by an alert John Hall.

Adelaide had arguably their best chance of the half minutes later when Osama Malik climbed highest to hit a glancing header from Ricardo Da Silva’s corner, only to produce an athletic diving save from Sebastian Mattei.

Kamara again had another golden opportunity after Kostopoulos had held off a number of challenges down with some great skill and strength to send in a teasing cross, but the 15-year-old’s close-range effort was deflected wide.

In a rare venture forward against the run of play, the Heart found their goal on 35 minutes through Babalj.

The Qantas Young Socceroo received the ball on the edge of United’s area and with a great touch of skill, shifted the ball to his left before firing a low shot past Hall into the bottom right-hand corner.

The goal gave Heart confidence as they came out firing in the second half and created two clear-cut chances in the opening minutes.

Zac Walker, who came on for Babalj at the break, had the first opportunity forcing a smart save from Hall just outside the area in the 50th minute.

Stipo Andrijasevic had the second from a corner, but his header was cleared off the line by Adelaide midfielder Johnny Mavromatis.

Hall again came to the Reds rescue in the 60th minute after Heart captain Craig Goodwin struck an angled effort from just inside the box after breaking into the area with some neat footwork.

Both sides would be happy with the contribution from their over-age players, in particular Sarkies for the Heart and Boogaard and Barbiero for United, who are all returning from injury.

Adelaide United 0
Melbourne Heart 1 (Babalj 35)