Late goal sees Heart past Sydney FC

An 86th minute goal to Adrian Zahra lifted the Melbourne Heart to a 1-0 win over Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium on Thursday night and in doing so take home the inaugural Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation Cup.

An 86th minute goal to Adrian Zahra lifted the Melbourne Heart to a 1-0 win over Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium on Thursday night and in doing so take home the inaugural Zaidee-s Rainbow Foundation Cup.

Despite dominating large patches of the clash, it was the Heart who gained the crucial three points from Sydney FC - who was missing key striker Alex Brosque (groin) and a trio of midfielders in Stuart Musialik (flu), Rhyan Grant (knee) and Terry Antonis (knee) through injury.

After gaining possession of the ball a few metres outside his own box, giant Dutchman Gerald Sibon put through the perfect ball to the flying Zahra who calmly slotted home the winner.

“It is frustrating for all of us. We started the game actively and aggressively and the same in the second half. We created the chances but we just can-t score that goal,” Coach Vitezslav Lavicka said.

“One of key points was to start with high tempo, aggressively and push them back and we did that.

“If there is still a chance (to make the finals), even mathematically, we will fight for it.

“I also want to say full credit to both clubs for organising this game to be played for the Zaidee-s Rainbow Foundation Charity Cup. It is a great thing to see.”

The Sky Blues next match is against Adelaide United on Wednesday 29 December at Adelaide Oval.

“Our performance was much better but I want to apologise to the boss and the players for the individual mistake on my behalf that cost us a goal,” skipper Terry McFlynn said.

“They punished us for the lapse. We-ve worked hard all week and we implemented the game plan and the first 25 minutes were up there in the best we-ve had all season so it is disappointing.”In his return to the SFS, Heart skipper Simon Colosimo immediately made his presence felt, earning a yellow after just 16 seconds of play for a tackle on striker Bruno Cazarine.

It was the Sky Blues who really jumped out of the blocks though with Scott Jamieson, who came into the midfield for Musialik, lively from the get go.

In the 5th minute, Jamieson made a nice run into the box before putting in a cross into Dimitri Petratos who made contact in the air but his shot went wide.

The Heart earned themselves a free kick just minutes later a metre outside their box but John Aloisi-s low driving shot went straight to Sydney FC keeper Liam Reddy, who was back in the first XI.

The Sky Blues continued to control the game with defender Sung-Hwan Byun curling in a nice cross to Stephan Keller but the tall defender-s header went wide.

The first half evened out after the 30 minute mark and the scores would remain at 0-0 at the break.

Again it was Sydney FC who started the brightest but they were constantly repelled by Heart stopper Clint Bolton.

To a large applause Nicky Carle made his much awaited return from injury in the 60th minute and his creativity had an immediate effect but the Sky Blues just couldn-t find the lead.

The Heart then stole the win through Zahra who showed composure to score.

Match Detail:

Sydney FC: 0 Melbourne Heart FC: 1 (ZAHRA 86')

Sydney FC line-up: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 3. Stephan KELLER, 5.Hayden FOXE, 6.Hirofumi MORIYASU, 9. Bruno CAZARINE (11. Kofi DANNING 76'), 12.Shannon COLE, 15.Terry MCFLYNN (c), 19.Mark BRIDGE, 21. Scott JAMIESON (10. Nick CARLE 60'), 22.Sung-Hwan BYUN, 24. Dimitri PETRATOS.

Substitutes Not Used: 2. Sebastian RYALL, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk).

Yellow Cards: 9. Bruno CAZARINE 45'. Red Cards: Nil. Goals: Nil.

Melbourne Heart line-up: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Michael MARRONE, 4. Simon COLOSIMO (c), 6. Matt THOMPSON, 7. Rutger WORM (25. Adrian ZAHRA 77'), 10. Wayne SRHOJ, 15. John ALOISI (9. Gerald SIBON 58'), 16. Aziz BEHICH, 17. Jason HOFFMAN, 20. Josip SKOKO, 22. Nicholas KALMAR (5. Michael BEAUCHAMP 66').

Substitutes Not Used: 12. Peter ZOIS (gk).

Yellow Cards: 4. Simon COLOSIMO 1', 7. Rutger WORM 68', 1. Clint BOLTON 88'. Red Cards: Nil. Goals: 25. Adrian ZAHRA 86'.

Referee: Ben Williams Crowd: 6 639 at the Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney.