Murdocca a standout in ‘cagey’ #MelbDerby


Massimo Murdocca registered an impressive debut for the Melbourne Heart in what he described as a ‘cagey’ Melbourne Derby against Melbourne Victory last night.

Massimo Murdocca registered an impressive debut for the Melbourne Heart in what he described as a ‘cagey- Melbourne Derby against Melbourne Victory last night.

In his first competitive match for the Red and White, Murdocca combined well with fellow off-season recruits Harry Kewell and Andrea Migliorini, who also debuted in the 0-0 draw at Etihad Stadium.

While Murdocca said he was satisfied with his own performance, he was surprised by the stalemate in front of a record derby crowd of 45,202.

“The game was very cagey, very tactical – I didn-t really expect that – but I think there is a lot of respect between the two sides so maybe a draw was a fair result at the end of the day,” Murdocca said.

Both sides created opportunities which could have changed the complexion of the game, including first half chances which fell to Adrian Leijer, Golgol Mebrahtu and Kewell.

“I thought their chance was very good… and we had a lot of chances and you just need one of those to go in and the game would have changed dramatically,” Murdocca said.

With Murdocca screening Melbourne Heart-s new-look midfield, the former Brisbane Roar midfielder said he was happy with his combination with Kewell and Migliorini.

“Harry and I have played a lot together now in the last month or two,” Murdocca said.

“With Andrea, he-s just come in so it was going to be interesting to see how well we could gel in that short space of time, but we-ve done well – he-s looking very good, he-s a great player and it-s great to have him alongside me in the midfield.”

As for the Red and White-s new-look defence, Murdocca said that solid performances from Patrick Kisnorbo and Robbie Wielaert set the tone for the rest of the team.

“Patrick and Robbie are very good acquisitions to the squad; just their communication last night as well was very good; it made my job a lot easier,” Murdocca said.

“When you-ve got those experienced boys at the back, it puts you in good stead for the season – it controls the whole squad and the whole eleven felt comfortable, so it was good to see.”

Murdocca praised the Melbourne Heart fans – who were in the minority at a packed Etihad Stadium last night – after playing for his new team for the first time last night.

“The fans are what make the Club and that-s who we play for at the end of the day so it was great to see them all there,” Murdocca said.

“It-s a tough atmosphere to go there – you-ve got 30-40,000 Victory fans – for those Heart fans to come out and be brave and support us, it-s great to see.”

Melbourne Heart-s next test is a stern challenge against reigning champions Central Coast Mariners, who drew 1-1 with last season-s Premier-s Plate winners Western Sydney Wanderers yesterday.

“We-re looking to improve, and there-s no better game than against the champions; we would like to see how we fare up against them and we just need to keep on [growing] in confidence,” Murdocca said.

“We got confidence from last night knowing that what we-re doing is working and we just have to produce it next week.”