Sydney FC stretches unbeaten run to eight

An 88th minute goal to Nicky Carle – his second of the night – saw Sydney FC finish 2-2 with Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park with the draw stretching the Sky Blues undefeated streak to eight games.

An 88th minute goal to Nicky Carle - his second of the night - saw Sydney FC finish 2-2 with Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park with the draw stretching the Sky Blues undefeated streak to eight games.

After taking Sydney FC took the lead from the penalty spot in the 35th minute, the Heart rallied to take the lead and looked to be sending retiring legends John Aloisi and Josip Skoko out winners until the class of Carle shone through with a superb second goal.

The late equaliser couldn-t spoil the farewell match as both players received standing ovations when substituted in the second half.

The draw leaves Sydney FC undefeated in 2011, the perfect lead in to the clubs upcoming AFC Champions League campaign which gets underway at the Sydney Football Stadium on Wednesday 2 March against the Suwon Samsung Bluewings from Korea.

Gerald Sibon, also playing in his final match for the Heart, received a red card on the stroke of half-time but the Heart were brave as they took the lead through the retiring Aloisi midway through the second half.

Sydney equalised in the 87th minute through Nick Carle-s second goal after he tucked away a penalty in the first half. Worm also scored in the opening half with his 41st minute strike.

Aloisi nearly began his farewell game in style when he struck the crossbar with a well hit shot in just the fourth minute. A minute later and Aloisi had another opportunity, but skewed his effort wide.

It was an explosive first 10 minutes from the hosts and they almost snared an early goal when a Sibon volley rattled the side netting.

The best chances continued to come for the Heart, with an Aloisi shot saved by Liam Reddy.

The slow-paced match was spiced up when Skoko dragged down Hiro Moriyasu in the box in the 34th minute. The penalty was duly awarded, Sydney-s second in as many games, and Carle made no mistakes as he slotted home.

Juho Makela tried to double Sydney-s lead with an awkward shot on the turn but he failed to test Clint Bolton.

The goal galvanised the match as both sides enjoyed chances in the moments before halftime, and in the 41st minute Worm equalised with a cracking strike from a tight angle.

To add further astonishment, Sibon, in his final game for Heart, found himself sent for an early bath when he kicked the ball away to receive a second yellow on the stroke of half time.

Not long after half-time Sydney were denied their second goal. Bruno Cazarine, looking for his 10th goal this campaign, was ruled offside after he headed home from a free-kick.

With Melbourne Heart down to 10 men, Sydney started playing a more clean and admirable game of possession football. Using their fullbacks to stretch the Heart in order to capitalise on their one man advantage they passed with added accuracy after the hosts had over 60% of the ball in the opening half.

Sydney held a more structured and disciplined shape and used the space created more significantly. In the first half they let Heart play and failed to create space with any notable movement.

But despite the technical and tactical changes and improvements, Aloisi cemented his spot as the man of the moment with a goal to give Heart the lead for the first time in the match. Wayne Srhoj was unmarked as he ran into the box and his shot was saved by Reddy. But the deflection fell to Aloisi who scored with a first time shot.

Despite the change in structure, with the more attacking winger Kofi Danning on and the fullbacks pushed up, Sydney couldn-t utilise being a man up.

The Heart did their best to deny Sydney and take the game to the visitors, but in the 87th minute Carle equalised with a superbly accurate shot into the far bottom corner. Using his skill and finesse, he chested down the ball amongst a crowded defence and hit his first-time shot with power and confidence.

Cazarine had a glorious opportunity to snag all three points with a strong header off the back of a quick transition from defence to attack, but he only managed to find the imposing Bolton.

Melbourne Heart: 2 (WORM 41-, ALOISI 62-) Sydney FC: 2 (CARLE 35- (p), 88-)

Sydney FC line-up: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL (22. Sung-Hwan BYUN 58-), 3. Stephan KELLER, 6. Hirofumi MORIYASU (7. Brendan GAN 81-), 9. Bruno CAZARINE, 10. Nick CARLE, 12. Shannon COLE (11. Kofi DANNING 70-), 15. Terry McFLYNN (c) 17. Matthew JURMAN, 18. Juho MAKELA , 21. Scott JAMIESON, 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN, 24. Dimitri PETRATOS.

Substitutes Not Used: 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk).

Yellow Cards: 15. Terry MCFLYNN 45- + 1. Red Cards: Nil. Goals: 10. Nicky CARLE 35- (p), 88-.

Melbourne Heart line-up: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Michael MARRONE, 4. Simon COLOSIMO (c), 6. Matt THOMPSON, 7. Rutger WORM (22. Nicholas KALMAR 73-), 9. Gerald SIBON, 10. Wayne SRHOJ, 14. Kamal IBRAHIM, 15. John ALOISI (8. Kristian SARKIES 83-), 16. Aziz BEHICH, 20. Josip SKOKO (5. Michael BEAUCHAMP 70-).

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

Yellow Cards: 10. Wayne SRHOJ 20-, 9. Gerald SIBON 29- + 41-, 10. Josip SKOKO 34-, 15. John ALOISI 62- Red Cards: 9. Gerald SIBON 44-.

Goals: 7. Rutger WORM 41-, 15. John ALOISI 62-.

Referee: Ben WILLIAMS.

Crowd: 6 019 at AAMI Park, Melbourne.