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Jan 5, 2013

Melbourne Heart hang on to beat Roar 3-2

Ten-man Melbourne Heart have staved off a huge comeback from Brisbane Roar to win 3-2 at AAMI Park and leap into the A-League top six.

In a match packed with twists and turns - the key ones coming from referee Alan Milliner and his linesman - the Heart threatened to squander a 3-0 lead inside the final 17 minutes on Sunday.

Both teams were given a game-changing controversial decision.

Heart's second goal was clearly offside and swung the momentum of the match the home side's way, while Heart striker David Williams' send-off in the 67th minute did the same for the Roar.

The Heart scored against the run of play after 13 minutes with their first chance to that point, when Richard Garcia unlocked the Roar's defence with a sublime ball for Williams to swoop and net.

The Roar had been in total control of possession, and did so again even trailing by a goal, but were brought undone by a controversial linesman's decision in the 35th minute.

Striker Josip Tadic was clearly offside when put through by Michael Marrone.

But the linesman missed it and Milliner awarded a goal - the Croatian's fifth of the season - to give the Heart a 2-0 halftime lead.

Brisbane's defensive frailties alone were responsible for the Heart's third goal eight minutes after halftime.

Fullback Aziz Behich was able to run unchecked down the left, then send a cross to unmarked Fred to slot home.

The Roar then were given a window of opportunity when Williams was given a straight red card which looked harsh with 23 minutes left for a crude challenge on Roar fullback Ivan Franjic.

The Heart's self-destructive tendencies, combined with Brisbane's better composure on the ball and Thomas Broich's industry in midfield, then threatened the mother of all comebacks.

Fred gave away a penalty in the 74th minute when he clumsily ploughed into Ben Halloran's back, and Besart Berisha made no mistake.

Then Berisha struck again two minutes later when Broich set him up delightfully, and the Albanian made it 3-2 and a nervous last few minutes for the Heart, before they eventually hung on.

It was the first time the Heart have posted back-to-back wins in an inconsistent season to date and allowed them to leapfrog the Roar into the top six.

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