Adelaide United went top of the A-League table on Saturday, courtesy of a 1-0 win over Melbourne Heart.
Striker Jeronimo Neumann’s fortunate deflected shot in the 58th minute was the difference between the two sides, and it was just reward for the Hindmarsh Stadium side after their first-half dominance.
With Dario Vidosic directing traffic with aplomb, Cassio playing superbly, Iain Fyfe dangerous and Portuguese Fabio Ferreira winning his right wing, United were looking sharp early.
Meanwhile, the impressive Richard Garcia pushed high repeatedly and showed his class, while skipper Matt Thompson and Jason Hoffman were doing their best to hold Heart’s midfield together.
But it would be a Heart turnover, followed by a cruel deflection past the beaten Clint Bolton, that would seal Melbourne’s fate and send the Reds top of the Australian football table.
In the later game, the Central Coast Mariners held on for a hard fought 2-2 draw against in-form Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium.
While Victory had twice come from behind to equalise, it was the Mariners who felt they had taken more from the match after the visitors lost Patrick Zwaanswijk to a red card with 40 minutes remaining – although both sides would finish a man down after Marcos Flores’ sending off late.
Earlier Daniel McBreen had given the Mariners the lead in the fourth and 22 minutes either side of Andrew Nabbout’s headed goal.
Mark Milligan levelled the scores six minutes before half-time and Victory had their tails up when they were handed the momentum thanks to Zwaanswijk’s indiscretion.
With the match deadlocked at 2-2, the Mariners threw everything into neutralising the match in an attempt to rescue the point and did so after surviving some minor scares late in the match, with Victory’s missed opportunity made to sting even more after Flores’ dismissal.
The result sees Central Coast lose top spot but they remain within two points of competition pace-setters Adelaide, while Victory draw level with fourth-placed Perth Glory.