Melbourne Heart have held on for a scoreless A-League draw against Melbourne Victory, who were denied a strong handball appeal in the second half.

Victory and Heart in scoreless draw

October 12, 2013
By Sam Lienert

The hand of Melbourne Heart recruit Patrick Kisnorbo has saved his A-League club in a scoreless derby against Melbourne Victory.

In a match attended by 45,202 fans at Etihad Stadium and in which six yellow cards were handed out, the biggest talking point came in the 47th minute, when anguished Victory cries for handball were ignored.

A seemingly goal-bound shot from the Victory's Adama Traore was stopped by Kisnorbo.

Replays showed his left hand was away from his body when the ball struck it, but the Victory protests were waved away by referee Peter Green.

It was part of a concerted Victory second-half effort to clinch the three points, with the nominal home side doing most of the attacking after halftime.

In the first half, it had been the Heart which had looked the more threatening, particularly on the counterattack.

The pace of David Williams and Golgol Mebrahtu looked capable of piercing the Victory defence, while new Heart captain Harry Kewell produced some clever set-up work against his former club.

The Heart's Mate Dugandzic sprayed an open chance in the 11th minute, after Williams' pace allowed him to get clear and make a nice cross.

Mebrahtu broke onto a Harry Kewell through-ball to get past advancing keeper Nathan Coe 10 minutes later, but couldn't balance himself well enough to get a shot past two Victory defenders.

Kewell, who regularly copped loud booing from the pro-Victory crowd, needed a bandage on a cut above an eye after a first-half clash with former teammate Adrian Leijer contesting a header.

But his class showed late in the half.

Kewell just missed with a long-range shot, latching on to a loose ball after a Leijer attempted clearance rebounded off a teammate five minutes from halftime.

In the last minute of the half, a Kewell header from a long, high ball found the feet of Mebrahtu, who spun and shot but was just off target.

Kewell was subbed off midway through the second half.

Victory coach Ange Postecoglou said his side should have been awarded a handball decision, but added there were sure to be some refereeing calls that went the Victory's way over the course of the season.

He said it was a frustrating night overall, with the Victory good in general play but not making enough of it.

"We just could have been a little bit more aggressive in that forward third, we just played it a little bit safe," he said.

Heart coach John Aloisi said tactically his side performed the way they want and kept the Victory from having many scoring chances.

He said the only thing missing was seizing on at least one of their first-half opportunities.

Aloisi said Kewell was subbed off because whiplash from a knock to the head in the first half led to leg pain.

"He was feeling some neural pain down the back of his leg, so it was a little bit precautionary. Hopefully he's okay," he said.

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