SYDNEY FC 0 MELBOURNE HEART 0
Injury concern ... Alessandro del Piero. Photo: Brendan Esposito
SYDNEY: Incoming coach Frank Farina got a glimpse of the job ahead as Sydney FC were held to a scoreless draw with Melbourne Heart in Sunday's bottom-of-the-table A-League clash.
The Sky Blues at least snapped a four-game losing streak but neither side was able to capitalise on a handful of chances in front of 12,425 fans at Allianz Stadium.
Farina watched on from the stands having arrived at the club on Friday, and while caretaker coach Steve Corica was officially in charge, the new coach was seen dishing out instructions in the sheds at halftime as he prepares to take charge next week.
Fabio Alves escapes a Melbourne Heart defender. Photo: Brendan Esposito
The former Socceroos coach would have taken several positives from an improved performance, not least the fact the last-placed Sky Blues finally plugged a leaky defence which had let in 15 goals in the previous four games.
Farina, though, would have some concerns that star playmaker Alessandro Del Piero failed to finish the match with the Italian substituted with 20 minutes to go, apparently a precautionary measure due to his troublesome hamstrings.
Both sides were affected by Socceroos duty with the Heart missing Richard Garcia, Aziz Behich and Michael Marrone and Sydney FC without Brett Emerton and Terry Antonis.
It opened the door for teenager Hagi Gligor to make his first start for Sydney while Corica also handed a debut in goals to Vedran Janjetovic as Ivan Necevski was dumped to the bench.
Heart's Josip Tadic and Sydney's Yairo Yau wasted good early opportunities as both sides traded blows in the opening exchanges.
The home side was slowly getting on top throughout the first half but Rhyan Grant blasted a close-range volley over the bar in the 38th minute to ensure scores remained level at halftime
Tadic came close with a well-struck left-footed volley just after halftime before Fred came close again for the Heart in the 51st minute.
Sydney went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock in the 56th minute as Sam Mitchinson did brilliantly to defuse a dangerous Del Piero cross.
Janjetovic then justified his call-up with a fine save to deny Fred's header.
Sydney injected Jason Culina off the bench and continued to mount pressure, with Del Piero forcing a scrappy save from Clint Bolton with a scorching 35m free kick shortly before being substituted.
Fabio looked fortunate to escape a red card for a lunging tackle that forced Ben Garuccio to be substituted in the 74th minute.
Chances continued to go begging as the struggling sides had to settle for a result that did little to help either's finals hopes.
SYDNEY FC 0 drew MELBOURNE HEART 0 at Allianz Stadium. Crowd: 12,425. Referee: Strebre Delovski.