It’s 16 games without a win for John Aloisi now as Victory punishes Heart after Patrick Kisnorbo’s 20th-minute red card in a 3-1 A-League derby win at AAMI Park.
FOOTBALL can be a cruel game and the sport that gave John Aloisi so much joy during an illustrious playing career will consign him to probably his worst Christmas ever.
It’s hard not to feel for Aloisi as the return of Harry Kewell saw Heart produce a promising opening 20 minutes before Patrick Kisnorbo’s 20th minute brain snap at 0-0 swung the pendulum Melbourne Victory’s way.
And once a team that’s mentally fragile concedes against an opponent as good as Melbourne Victory the odds of a comeback are double figures.
The facts make for grim reading. Heart remains bottom after the 3-1 loss, 12 points adrift of sixth-place Central Coast and that gap’s likely to be wider by the end of the round.
Heart’s last win was against Sydney FC on February 24 and it makes Friday’s home clash with struggling Wellington Phoenix must-win.
John Aloisi defends his role as head coach at the Heart after Mark Bosnich claims he should consider resigning after a 3-1 loss in the A-League’s Melbourne derby.
MATCH REPORT: VICTORY PUNISHES 10-MAN HEART
INDIVIDUAL MOMENTS OF MADNESS COSTING ALOISI
Phoenix, who host Sydney FC today, like Heart are winless on four points but have better goal difference.
Never ones to miss a chance to mock their Melbourne rivals, Victory fans chanted “you’re getting sacked in the morning” at Aloisi but unlike Perth Glory, there will be no rash decisions from the Heart board this week.
But a loss to Phoenix will see the blowtorch again applied to Aloisi and leave Heart with a mountain to climb, probably needing 30 points from the last 15 games just to reach the finals.
And they’ll host the Kiwis minus Kisnorbo, who recently spoke about how the players have been letting the coach down.
Prior to Kisnorbo’s send off Heart looked threatening with Kewell back in the attacking midfield position and Michael Mifsud benefited further ahead.
Kevin Muscat reflects on Melbourne Victory’s 3-1 win over A-League rival Melbourne Heart.
And the introduction of the creative Nick Kalmar in one of the holding midfield positions (he replaced Andrea Migliorini) gave them more control.
Aloisi was defiant in the wake of the team’s seventh loss of the season.
“The game we were second best in clearly was the Sydney FC game at home,” Aloisi said.
“We have got a team that we can beat anyone in this league and tonight we were on top of them and the red card ended up costing us.
“It changed the game completely because before the sending off with 11 v 11 we were playing well and created a couple of opportunities with Michael Mifsud and Victory weren’t really hurting us.”
Heart certainly has the potential to beat most teams but their wild inconsistency is a huge liability and the biggest reason Aloisi’s job is under threat.
The red card robbed Heart of its biggest scoring threat and forced them to sit far deeper.
But another loss will chip away at the players’ brittle confidence and with every loss it edges closer to a crisis that there’s no turning back from.