Melbourne Heart have been held to a 1-1 draw by Gold Coast United at AAMI Park tonight. Things started well for the Heart when Alex Terra scored another wonderful goal in the 17th minute but the visitors fought back thanks to a classy Bruce Djite strike five minutes before the break to even it up.
The draw was the fifth match unbeaten for the Heart but they need wins to give themselves every chance of making the final six whilst Gold Coast remained fourth on the table.
Melbourne move up to sixth but are just one point ahead of the Newcastle Jets who have two games in hand, setting up a massive Melbourne derby with the Victory this Saturday at Etihad Stadium as United meet the Jets on the same night.
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne Crowd: 5,187 Referee: Strebre Delovski Yellow cards:MH - Michael Beauchamp 58' GCU - Peter Perchtold 43'
On a perfect evening for football in Melbourne, there was little to write home about in the opening 10 minutes but the Heart quickly kicked into gear with a strong chance in the 12th minute. Gerald Sibon played a deft through ball for left-back Aziz Behich and his toe poke bobbled up off Gold Coast keeper Glen Moss and was then cleared off the line by Adama Traore in an ominous sign for the home side.
Immediately down the other end, Bruce Djite turned with a right-footed shot from close range but Heart gloveman Clint Bolton was up to the task.
GOAL In the 17th minute, Melbourne opened the scoring with a brilliant goal through Brazilian striker Alex Terra. Michael Beauchamp's long throw-in was headed forward by Kristian Sarkies from way outside the box after a poor Gold Coast clearance before Sibon glanced it on with his head which was controlled on the chest by Terra. He then flicked it over an advancing Moss and tucked it away neatly to grab his second goal in two games, following up his superb overhead kick against Perth Glory on the weekend.
The 26th minute saw Djite receive a pass at the top of the area before manhandling Heart skipper Simon Colosimo and then turning and lashing on his left, forcing a top save out of Bolton, indicating that the visitors were desperate for a leveler.
The Heart looked dangerous down the flanks with the speed of Behich and Adrian Zahra causing some problems for the United defence and it was Zahra who had the next best chance with a header from a Sibon cross in the 34th minute which was safely captured by Moss.
Kristian Rees' 35th minute back pass to Moss created some anxious moments for Gold Coast with Terra nipping at the heels but the visitors managed to restore parity in the 40th minute. GOAL On the counter, Gold Coast made the Heart pay when Bas van den Brink slotted a nice ball to Djite just outside the area before the former Genclerbirligi man advanced into the area, took on Michael Marrone, before hitting the back of the net with a little help from the defender's leg to make it 1-1 just before the break for his sixth of the season.
Gold Coast had the first chance of the second half in the 57th minute when Dino Djulbic headed goalward but Bolton came up with a fine save, diving to the top left corner to keep it out.
After that moment, referee Strebre Delovski received the ire of the Heart fans when he missed a few free-kicks in quick succession to the home side as the crowd really started t become vocal in the hope that their Melbourne team could come up with a winner.
Heart coach John van 't Schip hooked the impressive Sarkies for some strike power in John Aloisi with 25 minutes remaining making his intentions clear as Miron Bleiberg did the same for the Gold Coast, entering Andrew Barisic into the fray for debutant Peter Perchtold.
The 72nd minute saw Moss come up with a strong save from Aloisi's shot from inside the area a few minutes before Terra attempted another shot at a freak goal with a side volley but neither could beat the United custodian.
Heart goal scorer Terra had to be subbed off in the 78th minute with what looked like a hamstring strain, although it could have been precautionary, as Sibon also met the same fate but came off un-injured as van 't Schip swung the changes.
Gold Coast's Shane Smeltz was doing his best to get his side back into proceedings as his striker partner Djite came off with a knee problem and had to make a vital double save from the Kiwi international before keeping out a Barisic effort at the death, maintaining the 1-1 scoreline.
MH Clint Bolton (gk), Michael Marrone, Simon Colosimo, Michael Beauchamp, Matt Thompson, Kristian Sarkies (Aloisi 65'), Gerald Sibon (Kalmar 78'), Wayne Srhoj, Alex Terra (Heffernan 78'), Aziz Behich, Adrian Zahra
Subs - Peter Zois (gk), John Aloisi (65'), Nick Kalmar (78'), Dean Heffernan (78')
GCU Glen Moss (gk), Michael Thwaite, Dino Djulbic, Zenon Caravella, Shane Smeltz, Bruce Djite (Mebrahtu 86'), Bas van den Brink, Kristian Rees, Adama Traore, John Curtis, Peter Perchtold (Barisic 65')
Subs - Jerrad Tyson (gk), Andrew Barisic (65'), Golgol Mebrahtu (86'), Zach Anderson