Kalmar and Babalj strikes hand Heart glory


A stunning Nick Kalmar free kick and a second-half strike from Eli Babalj helped Melbourne Heart FC maintain its 100 per cent record on home soil in 2013, with the Red and White knocking off Perth Glory 2-0.

A stunning Nick Kalmar free kick and a second-half strike from Eli Babalj helped Melbourne Heart FC maintain its 100 per cent record on home soil in 2013, handing the Red and White a 2-0 win over Perth Glory.

In front of 6,096 energetic fans at AAMI Park, Heart jumped into fifth position on the Hyundai A-League ladder, as the woes continued for bottom-placed Glory.

The win also wrote a new chapter in the Melbourne Heart history books, with four consecutive home wins an unprecedented achievement since the Club-s inauguration.

Goal scorer Kalmar, who received the fan-voted man-of-the-match through the Club-s interactive initiative on Twitter, was a particular standout, but a handful of Heart players registered impressive performances.

Livewire David Williams, composed youngster David Vrankovic and maturing right-back Jeremy Walker all performed admirably, while debutant Jamie Coyne slotted straight into Aloisi-s system in his first match.

With Josip Tadic suffering an injury in last weekend-s Melbourne Derby, Babalj slotted into the target man-s role and showed killer instinct and hunger when he tucked away an opportunity in the second period.

But it was 19-year-old Walker, who has impressed since filling the shoes of outgoing right back Michael Marrone, who started the ball rolling for the home side, as his cross-cum-shot in the 12th minute forced Glory keeper Danny Vukovic to back-pedal and tip his effort over the bar.

Shane Smeltz had the first sniff for the visitors soon after and threatened to breach Heart-s new-look defence after Coyne gifted possession to the Perth striker, but his low left-footed strike was well saved by Heart-s stopper Andrew Redmayne.

Walker was again involved in Heart-s next forward foray, switching play from right to left, before Williams- first-time ball gave Kalmar space to unleash a stinging strike, forcing another excellent save from Vukovic.

Kalmar-s strike was a taste of things to come, when, two minutes later, he unleashed a sensational free-kick which soared up and over Perth-s wall, before dipping past Vukovic and into the back of the net, via the crossbar.

Heart went close to doubling its lead just three minutes later, as a swerving Williams effort fooled Vukovic, but Babalj failed to bury the follow up, instead shooting straight at the Perth custodian.

Glory rode Heart-s constant pressure and illustrated its efficiency on the counter immediately following Babalj-s effort, as Chris Harold and then Smeltz, from a corner, went close to drawing the sides level.

Harold threatened again just moments later, curling an effort inches wide of Redmayne-s far post.

Williams continued to trouble Vukovic up the other end, this time letting fly from 25m as Vukovic tipped his effort over for corner.

Heart nearly profited from a lovely interchange between the lively Garcia and Babalj, but Garcia, who had done all the hard work, couldn-t find a finish to match his efforts.

Harold continued to pose a danger down the left in the second half and his cross to Steven McGarry was headed wide after the restart.

But Heart killed off any chance of a Perth comeback in the 57th minute.

After Kalmar attempted to replicate his earlier effort, sending a deflected free-kick just wide of the target, Heart doubled its lead from the resulting corner.

Williams- corner was headed back into the mix by Garcia, before Jonatan Germano flicked into the danger zone via the post, to Babalj who swept home from close range.

Perth refused to give in as substitute Rao Nagai looked to make an instant impact, but his first effort in the 59th minute was blocked by Vrankovic, before Walker was forced to clear the substitute-s second effort off the line.

Germano then flashed an effort wide in the 66th minute for Heart, before substitute Dylan Macallister looked to top off the performance with a third goal, but Vukovic blocked with his feet.
Heart travels to Hunter Stadium next Friday to tackle the Newcastle Jets.

Match Details
Hyundai A-League Round 20
Melbourne Heart FC 2 (Nick Kalmar 23-, Eli Babalj 57-)
Perth Glory FC 0
Referee: Alan Milliner
Crowd: 6,096

Melbourne Heart FC line-up: 20. Andrew Redmayne (GK), 6. Patrick Gerhardt, 8. Matthew Thompson (17. Jason Hoffman 90+3-), 11. Richard Garcia (9. Dylan Macallister 83-), 13. Jonatan Germano, 15. David Williams, 18. David Vrankovic, 21. Jamie Coyne, 22. Nick Kalmar, 25. Jeremy Walker, 36. Eli Babalj (14. Golgol Mebrathu 76-)
Substitutes not used: 1.Clint Bolton (GK)
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil

Perth Glory FC line-up: 1.Danny Vukovic (GK), 2.Jack Clisby, 5.Steve Pantelidis, 8.Dean Heffernan (18.Matias Cordoba 76-), 9.Shane Smeltz, 10.Liam Miller, 13.Travis Dodd (12.Ryo Nagai 53-), 14.Steven McGarry (6.Nick Ward 79-), 17.Chris Harold, 19.Josh Risdon, 23.Michael Thwaite
Substitutes not used 30. Lewis Italiano (GK)
Yellow cards Heffernan 57; McGarry 79-
Red cards: Nil