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Mariners prevail after Engelaar stunner

MHTvCCMA moment of brilliance from Orlando Engelaar was not enough for Melbourne Heart, as they succumbed 2-1 at home to the Central Coast Mariners courtesy of second-half substitute Bernie Ibini’s 76th-minute strike.

After signing a three-year deal with the club mid-week, John van ‘t Schip made just the one change to Heart’s starting lineup, with Iain Ramsay coming into the first team for Harry Kewell. Meanwhile, Mile Sterjovski, Anthony Caceres, Marcel Seip, and Kim Seung-Yong freshened up a Mariners’ side looking to bounce back after their 2-1 defeat to Beijing Guoan in the AFC Champions League mid-week.

The initial stages of the contest reflected the cold, dour conditions, with neither side able to retain possession. There were brief stoppages when Simon and Hoffman, and then Kim and Wielaert, clashed heads but chances were few and far between in the opening quarter of an hour.

Melbourne Heart then began to settle and in the 20th minute, David Williams raced onto a Montgomery back pass and poked the ball past Bosnar to give himself space in the box, but the forward could only blast his shot wide.

Dugandzic then tested the Mariners’ defence when he squared a ball from the byline across goal, but Anderson cleared before Ramsay could convert. A Hoffman cross then rebounded off the top of the crossbar, as the visitors struggled to contain the Heart attack.

They eventually conceded in the 34th minute through a moment of genius from Orlando Engelaar. Breaking out of defence, Heart’s marquee player produced a spectacular effort from inside his own half that sailed over Reddy into the back of the net to make it 1-0.

Williams then had a chance to double the lead when he chased a cross from left-back Garuccio, yet 10 yards from goal he failed to stretch and could not get a toe to it.

Despite their general lack of attacking threat, the Mariners went into the break level when Simon found Kim inside the box, and the Korean made no mistake by hitting a right-footed shot past Redmayne.

Melbourne Heart continued their dominance after half time, as Williams fired a dangerous shot straight at Reddy in the 56th minute before his powerful header was parried behind by the Central Coast ‘keeper.

Reddy then made an excellent save to keep out Kewell’s close range header as the Heart piled on the pressure.

The Mariners looked to regroup and sent on Duke and Ibini to add teeth to their attack, and it paid dividends when the visitors broke the deadlock against the run of play in the 76th minute.

Ibini latched on to a lofted header on the counter and managed to outpace Kisnorbo before firing low past Redmayne to give Central Coast the lead.

The Mariners almost had a third six minutes later but Fitzgerald’s attempt was kept out by the Heart ‘keeper before Kisnorbo cleared the rebound.

Melbourne finished the game strongly and substitute Stefan Mauk had two good opportunities to equalise, yet he put both chances over as Central Coast grabbed only their second win outside of New South Wales this season.

About the author

avatarJulian is a freelance writer and editor, film festival programmer, and serial podcaster.

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