No excuses from Victory

There was a tremendous build-up and great expectations but, in the end, no excuse for Friday night's 3-2 derby loss to Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park, according to Victory skipper Adrian Leijer.

There was a tremendous build-up and great expectations but, in the end, no excuse for Friday night's 3-2 derby loss to Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park, according to Victory skipper Adrian Leijer.

The Victory surrendered three precious points and bragging rights to their cross-town neighbours after dominating the opening half-hour of the contest.

The consensus from both camps is that the Victory should have been at least two goals to the good, but all they had to show for their hard work was Archie Thompson's opener from a deft lob in the 21st minute.

The red and whites countered with a brace to Matt Thompson in the space of two minutes just before half-time and the hosts were on their way.

Substitute Alex Terra made the result safe for the Heart midway through the second half before Carlos Hernandez's belated late strike

"It was a much-hyped match, we were all looking forward to it and we weren't good enough on the day," said Leijer.

"It's disappointing for the fans more than anything because we know how much it means to them."

"It's a pretty quiet dressing room and we're very gutted, but all we can do is get back out there and try to get back to winning ways as soon as we can."

"We started off very well and probably should have been two-up, then they get a goal on the counter-attack and it changes the whole game."

"The second one just came out of nothing and from then on we were on the back foot and couldn't overcome it."

While he had no complaints about referee Strebre Delovski's decision to give Heart keeper Clint Bolton a yellow, rather than red card for a foul on Thompson in the fifth minute, Victory coach Mehmet Durakovic said his side found themselves on the wrong end of several tight calls.

This included appeals for hand ball in the lead-up to Terra's decisive third goal.

"Everyone was saying it was a hand ball, but that's football," said Durakovic.

"Their second goal apparently was offside as well."

Durakovic didn't feel he was slow to respond to the Heart's change at the 30-minute mark from a three-four-three set up to a more conventional four-three-three.

He said he was confident the side would rebound against Brisbane Roar in their New Year's Eve fixture at Suncorp Stadium.

"We'll fight back, we're experienced enough, we'll be OK," he said.