Josip Tadic was the star of the night as Melbourne Heart inflicted more misery on Brisbane Roar with a stunning victory on Friday
|By BEN SUTTON
Melbourne Heart have heaped more misery on defending champions Brisbane Roar with a stunning 4-1 victory at AAMI Park on Friday.
The Heart, who hadn't tasted victory since the opening week of the season, completely dominated the once invincible Roar outfit to cruise to a thoroughly deserved victory.
Fresh after an own goal last week, defender Patrick Gerhardt put the ball in the right net this week for his first goal in Heart colours to get the hosts off to an ideal start.
Brisbane were robbed of an equaliser just before half-time, but rarely threatened after the break as Josip Tadic set up one and scored another from the penalty spot before David Williams put the finishing touches on an outstanding performance from the Melbourne side.
In a cagey opening, Heart created the first meaningful chance eight minutes in but Roar goalkeeper Michael Theo was quickly off his line to smother Mate Dugandzic's shot after he was played in by Richard Garcia.
Nick Kalmar, who was making his first start since January 15 last year, shot over the bar from a free kick before Garcia forced a smart save from Theo from long range.
The hosts were finally rewarded for their bright start in the 20th minute when Gerhardt prodded home from close range after good work in the lead up by Jason Hoffman.
The midfielder went on a mazy run into the penalty area before the ball spilled out to Dugandzic, who delivered a perfect cross for Gerhardt to finish inside Theo's near post.
Brisbane responded with a period of sustained pressure, but with the absence of star striker Besart Berisha, they failed to produce any meaningful chances to test Heart keeper Clint Bolton.
They thought they had an equaliser with five minutes left in the half when Henrique tapped home Mitch Nichols' cross, but the linesman ruled it out and gave a goal kick, although replays suggested the whole ball had not crossed the line.
The Roar continued to press after the break and a Thomas Broich free kick almost left Clint Bolton red-faced as he struggled to clear his lines, but his defenders were on hand to preserve their one-goal advantage.
After a quiet first half, Tadic slowly began to work his way into the match and saw a spectacular bicycle attempt from the edge of the area flash just wide.
Moments later, the Croatian striker was put through on goal and showed excellent poise to cut back inside and lay off to Garcia, who finished with aplomb to put the hosts two goals up.
The two playmakers combined again eight minutes later with Tadic's inventive back heel finding Garcia in the area who was then clipped by Matthew Jurman with the referee having no choice but to point to the penalty spot.
Tadic sent Theo the wrong way to put the Heart three up, but the scoring wasn't done yet with substitute Williams adding a fourth with a classy finish just three minutes later.
Aziz Behich showed brilliant desperation to keep the ball in play and his superb pass found the former Roar striker through on goal with only Theo to beat.
Henrique pulled a goal back for the visitors when he was on hand to finish Ivan franjic's fine cross, but it was little more than consolation for the reigning champions.
Garcia almost set up substitute Dylan Macallister for a fifth goal, but Theo produced a stunning save to send his goal-bound shot onto the bar.
The victory moves Heart up to fifth place on the table, while Brisbane drop down to last place with just one win from their first six matches.