A-League preview: Melbourne Heart v Sydney FC
The stakes are high for both sides, with Heart just one point above the Sky Blues on the A-League table and a finals place in the balance
By David Manuca
Marrone, Good, Colosimo, Behich
Germano, Thompson, Srhoj, Fred
Grant, Beauchamp, Bosschaart, Jamieson
Emerton, McFlynn, Carle, Chianese
Melbourne Heart host Sydney FC at AAMI Park on Saturday in what is possibly one of the most important games in the former's short history.
Fifth-placed Heart and seventh-placed Sydney are both looking to secure a top-six spot and subsequent place in the A-League finals.
Just one point separates them on the table, and the winner of Saturday's game will more than likely be the one who makes the finals.
Although it is mathematically possible that both can finish in the top six, the Newcastle Jets also in the mix to secure the last two finals positions.
Melbourne Heart should have taken all three points on Saturday when they took on Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park, but were unable to capitalise on their first-half dominance, with the game ending 1-1.
Eli Babalj continued his bright run of form with a goal just after the half-hour mark, becoming the club's all-time top scorer in the process.
Sydney FC, meanwhile, secured a 1-0 win over rivals Melbourne Victory at Allianz Stadium, knocking them out of finals contention in the process.
Both sides have had very disappointing seasons, especially considering the hype that surrounded them both before it began.
Heart, however, flew under the radar and have surprised many with some impressive wins over the course of the season, including a 4-0 demolition of Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium in December.
The last time these two sides met at AAMI Park, Nick Carle converted a controversial 94th-minute equaliser after Maycon had put the home side ahead seven minutes from time.
Melbourne Heart will be glad to have Fred fit for this important encounter, while Sydney FC will be without Karol Kisel, who picked up his eighth yellow card of the season against Victory on Saturday.Mark Bridge may be recalled to the Sky Blues' starting XI, having made a bright cameo off the bench against Victory.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Melbourne Heart are yet to score more than one goal in a game in 2012.
- Sydney FC are the only A-League side yet to defeat Melbourne Heart.
- Eli Babalj, 20, has become the club's all-time top scorer, with nine goals.
- The only Sydney FC player to score against Heart has been Nick Carle.
- If Heart win or draw against Sydney, they will go undefeated for the fifth-straight game for the third time this season.
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Top 3 Predictions
Melbourne Heart 2-1 Sydney FC
- 33.33 %
Melbourne Heart 8-0 Sydney FC
- 16.67 %
Melbourne Heart 3-1 Sydney FC
- 16.67 %
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||15/11/2013||Melbourne Heart 0 - Sydney FC 2|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||24/02/2013||Melbourne Heart 3 - Sydney FC 1|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||13/01/2013||Sydney FC 2 - Melbourne Heart 1|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||02/12/2012||Sydney FC 0 - Melbourne Heart 0|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||17/03/2012||Melbourne Heart 2 - Sydney FC 2|
|07/12/2013||Western Sydney Wanderers 1 - Melbourne Heart 1||AUS1|
|01/12/2013||Melbourne Heart 3 - Adelaide United 3||AUS1|
|24/11/2013||Newcastle Jets 3 - Melbourne Heart 1||AUS1|
|15/11/2013||Melbourne Heart 0 - Sydney FC 2||AUS1|
|08/11/2013||Melbourne Heart 0 - Western Sydney Wanderers 1||AUS1|
|10||Nicholas Alberto Carle||Midfielder|