March 23, 2013
Heart coach Aloisi sets sights on referee
Not much made Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi smile after his side bowed out of the A-League finals race with a limp 2-0 loss to defending champions Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
But the former Socceroo broke out in an ironic grin when asked about the penalty that led to the Roar's telling opening first-half goal.
"Do you really want me to comment on the referee?" he smiled after their fourth straight loss.
"It's not a penalty.
"I am not saying that was the reason we lost but I thought it was a poor performance from the referee, in my opinion."
A spirited Roar (32 points) jumped from eighth to fifth spot on the congested A-League ladder with one regular season round left while the Heart (27pts) bowed out of the top six hunt with a whimper.
The Roar will learn their finals fate after they host fellow top six hopeful Sydney FC on Thursday night.
Aloisi had no shortage of people to single out after the flat loss.
But the Heart mentor had his sights set on referee Matt Gillett after Samuel Mitchinson's clumsy challenge on Brisbane defender Ivan Franjic led to Besart Berisha shooting truly from the penalty spot in the 12th minute.
Aloisi admitted his young side, missing four key players including injured Brazilian playmaker Fred, dropped their shoulders after Berisha drew first blood.
"Our players were upset about it and the Roar lifted. And when you are chasing the Roar it is hard to get back into the game - but it's no excuse," he said.
If they were dispirited after Berisha's penalty strike, the Heart were broken by Roar captain Thomas Broich's 25m wonder strike that made it 2-0 in the 31st minute.
"Thomas Broich is looking like his old self again. That's always a good sign for them," Aloisi said of the Roar's finals hopes.
Roar coach Mike Mulvey added: "That reminded me of my boyhood hero Bobby Charlton - the ball tore into the back of the net."
Mulvey hoped Mitch Nichols (back) would be available against Sydney FC after terrorising the Heart on Sunday.
And he kept his fingers crossed key defender Jade North would back up from the Socceroos' World Cup qualifier against Oman in Sydney on Tuesday.
The Heart had to win in Brisbane to stay alive in the tight finals race but it was the Roar who looked like a side desperate for a result in front of 9,869 fans.
The sorry loss added to the Heart's reputation as A-League road kill.
Remarkably they have not won outside Melbourne since December 2011.
Yet Aloisi had been hopeful of launching an unlikely finals run in Brisbane thanks to their five-game unbeaten run against the Roar including 4-1 and 3-2 victories this season - albeit at AAMI Park.
|Brisbane Roar||Melbourne Heart|
|1 Michael Theoklitos||20 Andrew Redmayne|
|26 Corey Browne||21 Jamie Coyne|
|3 Shane Stefanutto||18 David Vrankovic|
|19 Jack Hingert||11 Richard Garcia|
|5 Ivan Franjic||16 Marcel Meeuwis|
|15 James Donachie||8 Matt Thompson|
|17 Mitch Nichols||24 Sam Mitchinson|
|14 Steven Lustica||25 Jeremy Walker|
|18 Luke Brattan||10 Josip Tadic|
|22 Thomas Broich||15 David Williams|
|7 Besart Berisha||14 Golgol Mebrahtu|
|20 Matt Acton||Clint Bolton 1|
|11 Ben Halloran||Jason Hoffman 17|
|9 Stefan Nijland||D Macallister 9|
|10 Henrique||Eli Babalj 36|
|Stefan Nijland for Mitch Nichols (64)||Eli Babalj for Golgol Mebrahtu (63)|
| Henrique for Steven Lustica (79)||D Macallister for Josip Tadic (70)|
|Ben Halloran for Jack Hingert (90)|
|Luke Brattan (71)||Marcel Meeuwis (15)|
|David Williams (36)|
|David Vrankovic (70)|
|· Squads: Brisbane Roar | Melbourne Heart|