Fans of his former club will never let him forget the 2009-10 grand final, but Behich has left that miss in the past to forge what looks a more-than promising career
|By DEJAN KALINIC
Aziz Behich has moved on from that miss – and how.
It remains a moment etched in time and the nightmares of Melbourne Victory fans as a 19-year-old Behich let slip his chance to be a hero.
A 76th-minute substitute in the 2009-10 A-League Grand Final against Sydney, the then-attacker got his body in a tangle and failed to get enough on a cross with the goal at his mercy.
Victory lost the decider to the Sky Blues 4-2 on penalties after a shootout best remembered for Kevin Muscat's rare miss.
Behich, who has impressed with the Melbourne Heart since joining the club two years ago, refuses to dwell on the moment.
"Obviously Victory supporters, they won't forget it. So what do you do?" he told Goal.com.
"That's football. You score goals. You miss goals. It's all part of the game.
"I've put that behind me. [I] don't even think about it anymore. I'm at a different club. I've changed roles so that's past me. Don't even dwell on the past."
"Obviously Victory supporters, they won't forget it. So what do you do? ...[I] don't even think about it anymore."
- Aziz Behich on his 2009-10 grand final miss
Since then, Behich has not only changed clubs but positions, becoming one of the best left-backs in the A-League.
The Green Gully product was forced to take a step back when he left Victory at the end of that season, moving to Hume City in the Victorian Premier League.
"It was frustrating at the time. Things didn't work out at the Victory and I had to take a step back and work my up again," Behich said.
"It was frustrating but I always said to myself if I'm going to put something in my mind - and that was to get another contract - and whatever it took, I was going to do it.
"Whether that meant taking a step back and going back to the Premier League to prove myself again, which is what happened, then so be it.
"At the start, it was a bit frustrating but thankfully Heart gave me the opportunity."
After joining on an injury-replacement contract, Behich was rewarded for his efforts with a full-time deal in October 2010.
In Heart's first ever A-League game, Behich replaced Dutch winger Rutger Worm against the Central Coast Mariners.
But a red card to regular full-back Dean Heffernan later in the season led to Behich's switch to defence - a reinvention he thanks former coach John van 't Schip for.
"I couldn't defend at all. I've always been attacking-minded," Behich said.
"For him to help me make that transition to being a full-back, I can't thank him enough."
Behich [far right] might have gone back positionally, but his career has gone forward since joining Heart.
His form has not gone unnoticed, both locally and abroad, with Turkish giants Besiktas showing interest in signing him in July.
"There was a bit of talk and a bit of interest was shown from Turkey. It fell through," Behich said.
"That's gone so I'm not even thinking about that anymore. I've got a job to do while I'm here at Heart and whatever happens in the future just happens so I'm just focused [on the derby]."
The prospect of a first Socceroos cap should also be in the back of Behich's mind.
With Holger Osieck's men battling, particularly at left-back where the club-less David Carney has struggled, Olyroo Behich remains hopeful of a call-up.
"That's one of my goals to play for my national team. I did that at Olyroos level, but obviously to do it with the Socceroos is always a dream," he said.
"It's always in the back of your mind - you want to play for your country - but you've got to do well for your club first.
"Hopefully I'll kick the season off with a bang and obviously if I keep improving then hopefully I'll be in contention to get a call-up."
And that would just about complete the turnaround after that miss.