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Melbourne Heart‘s new marquee signing Orlando Engelaar has been taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg following a trial match against Brisbane Roar in Lismore today. The midfielder has undergone scans and is being assessed but the club are yet to confirm the extent of the injury.
In what was a disappointing day for the Heart, the club relinquished the Craig Foster Cup after being beaten 3-0 by Brisbane Roar on the back of a Besart Berisha hat-trick. However it is the injury to the Dutchman that will be of greater concern to Coach John Aloisi and his squad.
The injury occurred just prior to the half-hour mark, after Engelaar clashed heavily with Thomas Broich as both players jostled for the ball. The pair stayed down after the heavy collision, but while Broich soon resumed, Engelaar was carried off and replaced by Paulo Retre.
While initial reports suggested Heart‘s new No.4 had only suffered a bruised shin, it is now thought to be more serious - much to the disappointment of Heart Head Coach John Aloisi.
"We‘re not 100 per cent sure yet but it looks like a fracture, which is terrible news," said Aloisi after the match in northern New South Wales.
"It‘s a shame because he just got off the plane. I thought I‘d get him straight into it and play some football because we need to get used to the way he plays and he needs to get used to our style.
"For this to happen so early in the pre-season is hard to take."
Heart‘s other big off-season signing Harry Kewell was similarly anxious for his new teammate, but was hopeful Engelaar would not face a lengthy period on the sidelines.
"I hear on the grapevine it‘s not great at the moment for Orlando," Kewell said.
"Hopefully it‘ll be all good because he‘s going to be an important player for us."
The contribution of Kewell was one positive the Heart will take away from the match as they continue their four-day camp in Lismore, with the Socceroos veteran keen to get on the ball as often as possible in front of 5132 fans at Oakes Oval.
"This was the first big kind of test for us,â€ said Kewell â€œThat‘s why I‘ve come out here three months before the season started, to get to know the boys and get to know how they play."
Unfortunately for Kewell and the Heart the match got off to the worst possible start, with Bersart Berisha netting with just 16 seconds on the clock. The Albanian scored twice more in the second half to notch his hat-trick as the Roar ran out 3-0 winners.
After the match Berisha warned rivals that the Roar were ready to regain the Hyundai A-League crown.
"We are really hungry," said Berisha. "It‘s good to see the boys want it."