A clinical performance from Sydney FC has given the Sky Blues their second win in a week over Melbourne opposition with a 2-0 defeat of Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park this evening, sending them into 3rd on the Hyundai A-League ladder.
First half goals from strikers Alessandro Del Piero and Joel Chianese were enough for the visitors in the Harvey Norman Friday Night Football game, which they could have won by a bigger margin.
The Italian World Cup winner struck from the penalty spot midway through the first half, before the 23 year old Chianese pounced on the stroke of half time to seal the points.
Sydney FC were forced into a number of changes following suspensions to Marc Warren and Tiago Calvano with Pedj Bojic moving into right back, Seb Ryall reverting to centre half and Ali Abbas taking up the position of left back.
Up front Joel Chianese came in to replace the position left by Abbas and Christopher Naumoff took over from Matt Thompson on the left, as the former Heart man was rested. Young striker Alec Urosevski and goalkeeper Anthony Bouzanis came onto the bench along with Terry McFlynn, with Ivan Necevski left at home though illness.
The Sky Blues began the stronger with Richard Garcia and Sebastian Ryall having half chances within the first two minutes.
Melbourne were next to challenge on 13 minutes when Mifsud was put clear, however he struck the ball straight at Janjetovic who saved well.
Del Piero almost gave the Sky Blues the lead five minutes later when Garcia won a free kick on the edge of the box. The marquee man curled the set piece over the wall but saw his effort graze the top of the bar.
He wasn’t to be denied however and created the chance which led to the penalty kick. The Italian picked up the ball just outside the area and fed Chianese into the box. The young striker drove at the byline before cutting back inside Wielaert who brought him down. Referee Alan Milliner had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Del Piero stepped up to coolly slot home and give Sydney FC the lead after 26 minutes.
The Sky Blues could and should have been further ahead soon after. In the 32nd minute debutant Naumoff was played in by Abbas on the left, and after a great first touch to beat his man fired a shot which clipped the cross bar.
Five minutes later Nick Carle should also have extended the Sky Blues lead. After great build up play the midfielder was handed the ball by Chianese with only the keeper to beat. However Redmayne was out quickly to save Carle’s left footed shot with his foot, and the former Crystal Palace man put the rebound wide of the post.
Sydney FC weren’t to be denied and were further ahead a minute before the break. Abbas found space on the left wing and whipped in a fantastic cross to the far post where Chianese was waiting unmarked to slot home and make it 2-0 to the visitors.
The Heart came out with more positivity in the second half however were unable to create anything clear cut as the Sky Blues’ defence stood firm.
Chianese could have added to his tally on the hour when some slick passing allowed Pedj Bojic to cut the ball back from the byline, but the young forward put his left foot effort past the keeper’s left hand post from eight yards.
Heart pushed on as the game came to a close with Janjetovic forced into making a couple of good saves from close range, however the Sky Blues never really looked troubled.
The win moves Sydney FC into 3rd on the ladder with two home matches against Wellington Phoenix next Saturday (November 23) and Newcastle Jets (November 30) the weekend after.
Sydney FC 2 (Del Piero pen 26′, Chianese 44′) d. Melbourne Heart 0
Ground: AAMI Park
Referee: Alan Milliner
Sydney FC: 20. V.Janjetovic (GK), 2. S.Ryall, 6. N.Petkovic, 7. B.Emerton (5. M.Jurman 64’), 8. P.Bojic (15. T.McFlynn 79’;) 10. A. Del Piero, 11. R.Garcia, 16. J.Chianese (21. Y.Yau 83’), 19. N.Carle, 22. A.Abbas, 27. C.Naumoff.
Unused Subs: 29. A.Urosevski, 30. A.Bouzanis (GK).
Yellow Cards: 7. B.Emerton, 15 T.McFlynn, 22. A.Abbas.
Melbourne Heart: 1. A.Redmayne (GK), 2. J.Walker (21. S.Mauk 77’), 3. R.Wielaert, 6. P.Gerhardt, 8. M.Murdocca, 11. M.Mifsud, 15. D.Williams, 16.A.Behich, 22. N.Kalmar (7. I.Ramsay 45’), 23.M.Dugandzic (14. G.Mebrahtu 63’), 28. P.Retre.
Unused Subs: 18. D.Vrankovic, 20. T.Velaphi (GK).
Yellow Cards: 6. P.Gerhardt, 11. M.Mifsud, 15. D.Williams, 7. I.Ramsay,