Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi believes his side’s profligacy cost them all three points against the Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park.
The two sides played out a 1-1 draw on Sunday, with a 10-man Heart outfit, who took the lead through a Matt Thompson goal on 20 minutes, unable to convert a series of further chances.
And in a match they controlled – except for a brief period of Wellington dominance in the second half that surrounded Paul Ifill’s equaliser from the spot, one which came after Simon Colosimo was sent off for a deliberate handball – Heart were forced to settle for a point.
“We should have had the game won at half-time,” Aloisi said.
“We had the chances to kill the game off. If you don’t kill teams off, you can let them in. Wellington look for those set pieces (the Phoenix won their penalty from a corner) and they are very good at those.
“We switched off just after half-time and (it was) a different ball game after that, (going) down to 10 men.”
Despite their opponents having a numerical advantage, it was Heart who finished the game stronger, with Dylan Macallister only denied a 77th-minute winner by Phoenix defender Michael Boxall’s goal-line clearance.
Aloisi was pleased with Heart’s performance, particularly after they were reduced to 10 men, and predicted further improvement for his team.
“The way that the team responded (to the red card)…I couldn’t be more happy,” he said.
“The way we were moving the ball around…it looked like we had a man more. I thought in the last 30 minutes we controlled the game. Credit to the players.
“You can see how confident they are, how fit they are and we probably could have snatched it. I’m actually quite happy and I know we are going to get better.”
Fred was the main culprit in front of goal for Heart, while Macallister, Richie Garcia and Croatian import Josip Tadic also had chances to score during an exciting match.
Two of Fred’s chances – which both came late in the first half in an extended spell of pressure from the hosts – saw him attempt to round and chip the goalkeeper when perhaps less exotic options would have been more effective.
But Aloisi said he was happy with the Brazilian who had a ‘good game’ and that ‘you can’t take that (temptation to do the amazing) out of him’.