A-League wrap: Heart thump Sydney, Adelaide into third
Melbourne Heart moved into fifth place on the A-League table with a 3-1 victory over a lacklustre Sydney FC at AAMI Park on Sunday.
Nick Kalmar and Jonatan Germano put the hosts two up before half time and when Sebastian Ryall conceded a penalty and was sent off early in the second half for denying Heart a clear goal-scoring chance, the match was as good as over.
David Williams stepped up to convert the spot kick and although Joel Griffiths pulled one goal back for Sydney, Heart were firmly in control and fully deserved the three points.
The victory was Heart's fifth straight at their home ground and sees them leapfrog their opponents into fifth place on the table, while Sydney drop out of the top six on goal difference.
Australia captain Lucas Neill, who was making his debut for the Sky Blues, was jeered every time he touched the ball by the majority of 13,752 in attendance after he rejected a move to Heart in favour of Sydney, but still put in a solid performance in defence.
Alessandro Del Piero showed flashes of his brilliance, but didn't see much of the ball, to the disappointment of the extra numbers that turned out to see the Italian superstar in action.
Elsewhere, Corey Gameiro was the hero for Wellington as they claimed a much-needed point with a 2-2 draw against Adelaide United.
Controversy has dogged the two previous fixtures between these sides this year and Sunday's game at Westpac Stadium was no different as Jon McKain was sent off for two yellow cards with 22 minutes to go.
At that stage Adelaide were leading 2-1 after goals to Tomi Juric and Marcelo Carrusca had sandwiched a Jeremy Brockie effort.
But McKain's dismissal for a tangle with Vince Lia in the 69th minute seemed to spark the Phoenix and Gameiro's well-taken goal 10 minutes from time sparked a frenzied finish.
Neither side could find a winner, however, and the point saw Adelaide leapfrog Melbourne Victory into third place on goal difference, while Phoenix remain on the bottom but only six points off sixth place.