No winners in Melbourne Derby


The winless streaks of both Melbourne Heart and Melbourne Victory have rolled on after a lacklustre Derby which ended 0-0 at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

The winless streaks of both Melbourne Heart and Melbourne Victory have rolled on after a lacklustre Derby which ended 0-0 at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

It is the second time this season that the Melbourne Derby has ended in a stalemate, with Heart dominating the first half of this match and Victory the second. But neither side was able to score the goal which would give them a crucial three points.

The result did greatest damage to Victory’s finals hopes as they remain stranded outside the top six after a fifth straight match without a win and a third consecutive draw. But having had to see out the final 15 minutes with just 10 men after Grant Brebner was sent off, they will feel some relief.

A seventh-straight match without a win leaves Heart completely bereft of momentum and just five points in front of Victory as well as Newcastle, who could move closer with a good result against Sydney on Sunday. They had two great chances to win it late, but found luck and Ante Covic in their path.

It was a less than frenetic start to the game, with Heart dominating and creating the better play with Covic called on to punch away an early corner before Rutger Worm fired over after a good build up on 11 minutes.

Jonatan Germano was unlucky not to give his side the lead on 13 minutes, when his close range header came off the bar with Covic beaten, after Eli Babalj had flicked on.

Victory’s only chance of the first 30 minutes came from an error on a rare time the Heart were caught out in their own defensive half. Leigh Broxham fed Jean Carlos Solorzano, but the Costa Rican’s shot slid wide.

Solorzano was afforded another chance in similar circumstances later in the half with the same outcome.

Heart midfielder Kristian Sarkies showed his noted dead-ball skills, forcing Covic into a brilliant save from a free kick on 26 minutes.

Debutant Craig Goodwin was the most impressive player on the park in the first 45, which was as much of an indication of the disjointed build-up play of both sides as his adaptability to the Hyundai A-League.

Chastened by coach Jim Magilton, Victory looked vastly improved after the break, pushing forward and creating chances, including one for Harry Kewell, who shot over.

Solorzano remained the man most likely to score for them and after putting another shot just wide, he finally got the ball into the net only to be foiled by the offside flag.

The game had opened up significantly, and while Heart had a chance from Worm well saved by Covic, Bolton was the busier of the two keepers and he watched Thompson and substitute Danny Allsopp shoot over soon after the hour.

But Brebner’s dismissal on 75 minutes – a straight red for a studs-up challenge on Eli Babalj – turned the momentum back Heart’s way.

Sarkies should have punished Victory for a terrible defensive error when put through on Covic, but he shot over while on 80 minutes Goodwin almost capped a sensational debut with a wonderful goal, denied by Covic’s outstretched hand.

Heart laid siege to the Yarra end goal in the final five minutes, but could not find a way through, with Michael Marrone coming closest with an effort which flew inches wide.

Melbourne Heart 0
Melbourne Victory 0
Crowd: 26,395 at AAMI Park