Mifsud guides Heart to big win

Maltese international Michael Mifsud spurred Melbourne Heart to a thumping 8-1 victory over the AIS in the NYL at Epping Stadium on Saturday.

Maltese international Michael Mifsud spurred Melbourne Heart to a thumping 8-1 victory over the Australian Institute of Sport in the Foxtel National Youth League at Epping Stadium on Saturday.

Having been dropped from the senior team, Mifsud scored a first-half hat-trick to set Heart on their way with Marcus Schroen, Alex Dao, Stipo Andrijasevic and Joseph Katebian also finding the net in the rout.

Darcy Madden grabbed a consolation goal for the AIS midway through the second-half with a nice solo effort.

Heart established their superiority early in the contest as the AIS struggled to deal with the pace the home side possessed in the final third.

The second half petered out after the withdrawal of Mifsud, as the AIS had an equal share of possession and earned their consolation goal.

It only took Heart five minutes to take the lead as Schoen clinically volleyed home at the back post after a chipped ball into the penalty area.

Mifsud looked set to continue the poor form he has displayed at senior level, missing a cross in the six-yard box with the goal at his mercy in the 11th minute.

But the former Coventry City striker made amends a short time later when he ran on to Retre's through-ball and finished clinically past AIS goalkeeper Jordan Thurtell.

The AIS custodian was at fault for Mifsud's second on 34 minutes, when he failed to punch the ball clear in a challenge with Schroen and the Maltese international was on hand to finish from point-blank range.

Mifsud completed his treble in the shadows of half-time, finishing into an empty net after Ersin Kaya was twice foiled by Thurtell.

Heart withdrew Mifsud at the break to give opportunities to some younger players and briefly lost their dominance with possession.

The away side edged closer to getting that elusive goal and were rewarded by Madden's strong run and excellent finish from outside the area in the 71st minute.

But conceding a goal stung Heart into action with Dao tapping in two minutes later from Andrijasevic's cross, while the latter got himself on the scoresheet with an excellent finish after Jeremy Walker's cross on 81 minutes.

There was still time for more goals with Katebian slamming a goal past Thurtell in the 89th minute and Retre scoring a penalty in stoppage time after Schroen was brought down in the box.

The three points mean Melbourne Heart move up to sixth position provisionally while the AIS remain in eighth.

Melbourne Heart 8 (Schroen 5', Mifsud 17' 34' 45', Dao 73', Andrijasevic 81', Katebian 89', Retre 90+3' )

Australian Institute of Sport 1 (Madden 71')

HT: 4-0

Melbourne Heart: 2. Jeremy Walker, 3. Phillip Petreski, 4. Andrew Mullett, 5. Ross Archibald (C), 6. Alex Dao, 8. Paulo Retre, 9. Michael Mifsud (11. Stipo Andrijasevic 61'), 10. Marcus Schroen,  14. Ersin Kaya (13. Joseph Katebian 61') , 15. Sam Mitchinson (7. Hernan Espindola 61'), 16. Phillip Petrovski (GK)

Australian Institute of Sport: 1. Jordan Thurtell (GK), 2. Darcy Madden, 4. Benjamin Warland, 6. Matthew Ntoumenopoulos (C) (19. Bright Appiah 59'), 11. Marc Marino, 12. Mark Ochieng, 16. Jordan Pudler, 17. Anthony Kalik, 18. Alex Gersbach, 21. George Timotheou (9. Todd Norris 46'), 23. Rocco Pizzata (3. Brendan Gonano 46')