Sydney FC falls to Melbourne Heart at SFS

Sydney FC missed the chance to go into second place on the Hyundai A-League ladder, defeated 4-0 by a Melbourne Heart side that played classic counter attacking football at the Sydney Football Stadium tonight.

Sydney FC missed the chance to go into second place on the Hyundai A-League ladder, defeated 4-0 by a Melbourne Heart side that played classic counter attacking football at the Sydney Football Stadium tonight.

Sydney FC played in front of a season high crowd of 16,007, had more possession, more shots but conceded three sucker-punch goals on the break and another from a goalkeeping howler by Liam Reddy.

Sydney FC coach Vitezslav Lavicka made two changes to the side that drew 2-2 with Adelaide United last start. Scott Jamieson earned a re-call, which saw Shannon Cole pushed forward into a midfield role at the expense of the unlucky Rhyan Grant while teenager Terry Antonis came into the side in place of suspended captain Terry McFlynn.

The game resembled a game of chess early on with both sides feeling each other out before Sydney FC increased the tempo with a flurry of action midway through the first half. Cole had a shot deflected over the cross bar in the 21st minute before Dimi Petratos fashioned three chances in a five minute burst.

Sydney FC was unlucky not to receive a penalty in the 27th minute when Bruno Cazarine ran onto a through ball, got to it first with his head and was then bundled over by the advancing Clint Bolton but referee Peter Green waved away the claims.

Two minutes later Melbourne Heart opened the scoring against the run of play. Jamieson and Pascal Bosschaart failed to clear a ball after a quick break, it fell into the path of Fred, who held the ball up, rolled it into the path of Eli Babalj for an easy tap in.

In the 31st minute Sydney FC had another chance when Emerton and Petratos combined on the right, Emerton cut the ball back and a neat clip by Cazarine was cleared by Melbourne Heart defender Brendan Hamill.

Then, in the single minute of time added on at the end of the first half, Melbourne struck a big blow with Mate Dugandzic making it 2-0 following a swift counter attack down Sydney-s right hand side.

Ironically, Sydney FC went into the sheds behind 2-0 despite playing it-s best 45 minutes of football all season at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Lavicka used the half time break to make one change with Mark Bridge coming into the game at the expense of Shannon Cole.

It had an impact with Sydney FC charging out of the blocks, Cazarine hitting the post in the 48th minute before forcing a save from Bolton in the 51st minute. Bridge then had a goalbound shot cleared by Fred in the 52nd minute as Sydney FC continued to dominate everywhere except the scoreboard.

Bridge then went close with a dipping volley from 30m in the 62nd minute before Cazarine flashed a header just wide in the 68th minute.

While this was happening, Melbourne Heart stuck to its plan of playing counter-attack football and made it 3-0 in the 76th minute when substitute Jason Hoffman tapped in from 10m after slick play by Dugandzic and Aziz Behich.

The night went from bad to worse in the 85th minute when Liam Reddy claimed a harmless through ball and as he attempted to get off the ground he dropped the ball at the feet of substitute Alex Terra, who simply rolled the ball into the back of an empty net.

Sydney FC continues its hectic schedule with a crucial trip to Wellington to face the Phoenix on Wednesday night before hosting local rivals the Central Coast Mariners at the Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday 8 January.

Melbourne Heart 4 (Eli Babalj 29, Mate Dugandzic 45+1, Hoffman 76, Terra 85) d Sydney FC 0 Sydney Football Stadium Crowd: 16,007 Referee: Peter Green

Sydney FC: 1. Liam Reddy, 3. Jamie Coyne (18. Juho Makela ‘68), 4. Pascal Bosschaart, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 7. Brett Emerton (c), 8. Karol Kisel, 9. Bruno Cazarine, 11. Dimi Petratos, 12. Shannon Cole (19. Mark Bridge ‘46), 17. Terry Antonis (23. Rhyan Grant ‘83), 21. Scott Jamieson. Sub not used: 20. Ivan Necevski. Yellow cards: Bosschaart 54, Cazarine 60 Red cards: Nil

Melbourne Heart: 1.Clint Bolton, 2.Michael Marrone, 3.Brendan Hamill (18.Curtis Good ‘73), 4. Simon Colosimo, 5.Fred (c) (17.Jason Hoffman ‘59), 6.Matt Thompson, 7.Rutger Worm, 16.Aziz Behich, 19.Eli Babalj, 23.Mate Dugandzic (11.Alex Terra ‘80), 25.Adrian Madaschi. Subs not used: 30.Sebastian Mattei (gk). Yellow cards: Nil Red cards: Nil