Lucas Neill has been repeatedly booed and Sydney FC soundly beaten as Melbourne Heart gave the Socceroos skipper an unpleasant A-League debut.

The Heart won 3-1 at AAMI Park on Sunday to climb to fifth spot, while the Sky Blues fell to seventh on goal difference.

Compounding a bad day, Sydney lost striker Joel Griffiths to hamstring tightness and defender Sebastian Ryall to a red card.

Neill had said pre-game he was happy to play the part of a “pantomime villain” and it turned out that way, as Heart fans jeered him when his name was announced and whenever he touched the ball, after he backtracked on an indication he would join their club.

One fan held up a sign labelling him a rat.

But the AAMI Park crowd quickly found plenty to cheer about, as the 34-year-old debutant and his fellow defenders proved unable to resist the Heart’s attack.

Nick Kalmar and Jonathan Germano scored five minutes apart in the first half.

The game was effectively over 10 minutes into the second half when Ryall was ejected for dragging down David Williams in the penalty box and Williams converted from the spot.

Griffiths replied for the visitors before being subbed off injured.

Sydney coach Frank Farina said his side’s defence had been a problem all season but that Neill had shown enough to suggest he could help.

“It was a bit of a baptism of fire for him coming into this game but I’m relatively pleased and he’ll just get better,” Farina said.

“But we as a team have to improve.”

Neither Heart coach John Aloisi nor assistant Hayden Foxe shook Neill’s hand post-game, with Foxe walking straight past the Socceroos captain while Aloisi said he didn’t see him.

Aloisi was delighted with his own team, although said they frittered chances to win even more comfortably.

The match drew 13,752 spectators, the Heart’s biggest non-derby crowd ever, attracted no doubt by the presence of Neill and Alessandro Del Piero, who announced during the week he would continue with Sydney next season.

It was the Heart’s fifth straight home win but they’ve lost six straight away, a streak they aim to end against bottom-placed Wellington in Dunedin next Sunday.

“We’ll enjoy the win tonight but we’ll focus straight away on the Wellington trip and we’ll put this away record to bed,” Aloisi said.

© AAP 2018

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The Crowd Says (19)

  • February 25th 2013 @ 9:09am
    mice said | February 25th 2013 @ 9:09am | ! Report

    It was a great game to be a Heart fan and thanks to Mr Del Piero we had a great crowd. Really good atmosphere and just shows the value of a good Marquee player to the league. It is to be hoped that some of the fans that came to see Alessandro Del Piero will have enjoyed the A League enough to continue coming to Melbourne Heart games. The booing of Lucas Neill was a bit of fun but what did he expect. He was probably always going to go to Sydney but used Melbourne Heart to help to negotiate a better pay deal.

  • February 25th 2013 @ 11:13am
    Jay said | February 25th 2013 @ 11:13am | ! Report

    Extremely poor form from Aloisi and Foxe. Grow up idiots.

  • February 25th 2013 @ 11:16am
    vic ram said | February 25th 2013 @ 11:16am | ! Report

    sydney fc needs a midfeild general, that where all the problem is.pls get nicky carle back.

    • February 25th 2013 @ 8:37pm
      WSW77 said | February 25th 2013 @ 8:37pm | ! Report

      Sydney FC’s problem is my view is it’s policy, completely disorganized and desperate for attention.

      And now that the Peoples club is here things have just gotten worse for SFC, but ADP was a great move that might of saved SFC for now. Let’s not forget that SFC where about to move their home games to Leichhardt Oval due to the lack of financial conditions to play in SFS.

      Western Sydney Wanderers FC are the complete opposite of what SFC are, it’s also labeled the Peoples club and history tells us that the most successful clubs in the world in majority are the peoples club, time will tell thou…

      • February 25th 2013 @ 9:02pm
        Titus said | February 25th 2013 @ 9:02pm | ! Report

        “SFC where about to move their home games to Leichhardt Oval”


        “it’s also labeled the Peoples club”

        Absolutely, while they are on the FFA books, it honestly feels like we all own them.

        “get nicky carle back.”

        100% agree

  • February 25th 2013 @ 12:11pm
    Mahler said | February 25th 2013 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

    Dare I say that Sydney could have done with Jason Culina…

    • February 25th 2013 @ 8:39pm
      WSW77 said | February 25th 2013 @ 8:39pm | ! Report

      Yep, I’m surprised Popa hasn’t made a move on him, yet.

  • February 25th 2013 @ 12:21pm
    striker said | February 25th 2013 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

    Mahler gotta agree i think jason cullina is a massive loss for sydney fc big mistake getting rid of him.

  • February 25th 2013 @ 12:25pm
    tezza said | February 25th 2013 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

    disgraseful behaviour from Aloisi and his assistant, and mice I think you will find he went to sydney for less money not more.

    • February 25th 2013 @ 1:53pm
      mice said | February 25th 2013 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

      Not too sue about that Tezza. Maybe he didn’t want to be seen standing in a dustbin in front of a portable school room at Latrobe Bundoora.
      Probably not a good look for the Australian Captain.

      • Roar Guru

        February 25th 2013 @ 2:39pm
        AndyRoo said | February 25th 2013 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

        Hilarious 🙂

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