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Jan 19, 2011

Heart and Gold Coast play out draw

The A-League top six picture took on an even fuzzier look after Melbourne Heart and Gold Coast United played out a 1-1 draw at AAMI Park on Wednesday night.

The Heart climbed into the top six with their point - leapfrogging the Newcastle Jets.

And Gold Coast stay fourth though they have extended their gap over fifth-placed Melbourne Victory to six points.

It leaves eight teams still well in contention for the six finals spots, and there was little extra clarity offered as to who might claim the berths at the fringe of the top six after a gripping 90 minutes.

The Heart will rue not taking advantage of a slick first-half performance in which their short-passing game cut Gold Coast to ribbons several times.

But United also had three excellent second half chances to win the match saved by Heart goalkeeper Clint Bolton - two in stoppage time.

Brazilian striker Alex Terra gave the Heart the lead on 17 minutes, latching on to a Gerald Sibon header, flicking the ball around Gold Coast keeper Glen Moss and slotting it home.

Then, against the run of play, Gold Coast squared things up on 40 minutes with a soft goal - striker Bruce Djite turning and shooting through defender Michael Marrone's legs to stun the home side.

Both sides had their chances to win the match in the second half - the best falling to the visitors.

Bolton threw a timely hand at a 58th minute header from Gold Coast's Dino Djulbic.

Then the experienced goalkeeper was called into action twice in injury time.

First he saved from Shane Smeltz amid a goalmouth scramble, before denying Andrew Barisic's late shot soon after.

The match now adds huge importance to the Heart's clash with the Victory at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night - a game likely to heavily influence the shape of the finals.

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