December 7, 2012
Mebrahtu A-League hero on Heart debut
Sudanese-born refugee Golgol Mebrahtu has come off the bench to score a late winner in his Melbourne Heart debut and deliver his A-League club a much-needed win over Perth Glory.
Saturday night's victory lifted the Heart, who started the round in ninth spot, above the sixth-placed Glory, who are on a five-match winless streak and yet to win away this season.
Mebrahtu, 22, had played 26 A-League games with Gold Coast without scoring.
But it took just 12 minutes with the Heart to break his duck, the youngster replacing his captain Fred in the 77th minute and scoring in the 89th.
While Mebrahtu did the finishing, it was Josip Tadic who deserved much of the credit, making a penetrating run through the Perth defence down the left flank then easing the ball in front of Mebrahtu, who had only to tap it past advancing keeper Danny Vukovic.
It was sweet relief for the Heart, who had earlier squandered some good chances in an at-times heated contest.
Tadic wasted the best of them in just the third minute, after a delicate touch from teammate Nick Kalmar gave him ample time and space to beat Vukovic, but his initial touch was poor and his shot off-target.
Perth's best early chances came in the air, with star striker Shane Smeltz just off-range with two first-half headers.
Tempers flared at halftime when Heart coach John Aloisi, who had said pre-game his side had allowed themselves to be bullied by Perth in the past, exchanged angry words with Glory skipper Jacob Burns on the sidelines then in the players' tunnel.
It was sparked by an incident just before the interval which ended with Tadic lying on the turf after a tangle with Perth's Dean Heffernan.
The spice continued after the break when Burns, who was on return from a suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards, picked up another for bringing down Tadic off the ball.
Perth's best scoring opportunities came soon after, a Chris Harold shot blocked by a Heart defender before Travis Dodd forced a brilliant save from Heart keeper Clint Bolton.
Fred then wasted two good chances for the Heart, before being pulled to the bench for Mebrahtu's decisive introduction.
|Melbourne Heart||Perth Glory|
|Golgol Mebrahtu (89')|
|Melbourne Heart||Perth Glory|
|1 Clint Bolton||1 Daniel Vukovic|
|20 Andrew Redmayne||30 Lewis Italiano|
|4 Simon Colosimo||3 Bas Van den Brink|
|24 Sam Mitchinson||8 Dean Heffernan|
|6 Patrick Gerhart||5 Steve Pantelidis|
|18 David Vrankovic||19 Joshua Risdon|
|25 Jeremy Walker||7 Jacob Burns|
|8 Matt Thompson||13 Travis Dodd|
|5 Fred||6 Nick Ward|
|17 Jason Hoffman||14 Steven McGarry|
|10 Josip Tadic||17 Chris Harold|
|9 D Macallister||18 Jesse Makarounas|
|15 David Williams||15 Brandon ONeill|
|14 Golgol Mebrahtu||4 Billy Mehmet|
|22 Nick Kalmar||9 Shane Smeltz|
|Golgol Mebrahtu for Fred (78)||Nick Ward for Billy Mehmet (78)|
|David Vrankovic for Josip Tadic (90)||Jesse Makarounas for Travis Dodd (85)|
|D Macallister for Nick Kalmar (90)|
|David Vrankovic for David Vrankovic (90)|
|D Macallister for Josip Tadic (90)|
|Jacob Burns (55)|
|Daniel Vukovic (81)|
|· Squads: Melbourne Heart | Perth Glory|