Italian star Alessandro Del Piero inspired Sydney FC to a 2-0 opening round win over the Newcastle Jets to kick off the 2013/14 A-league season.
Frank Farina had Sydney youngster Joel Chianese to thank for spurring Sydney to life in the 23rd minute after what was a cagey opening 20 minutes.
The former Blacktown City Demons player executed a fine challenge to deny Jets star Sam Galloway from running through on goal with an inch-perfect slide-tackle.
The resulting counter-attack enabled Sydney’s marquee star Alessandro Del Piero to play Chianese into space with a trademark ball, however Chianese’s touch let him down.
Chianese’s efforts at least ensured that the momentum was with the sky blues, and only moments later it paid dividends for the two-time A-league champions.
It was Matt Thompson who was next to threaten Jets keeper Mark Birighitti’s goal.
Thompson struck a fine effort which crashed against the crossbar and looked as though it may have crossed the line, but to the relief of Jets fans the ball spun back into play.
However, Newcastle’s relief was only temporary.
An unfortunate goal-mouth scramble from Newcastle’s defenders allowed Del Piero to slot the first goal of the new A-league season.
Del Piero, Sydney’s top scorer from last season, sublimely nutmegged Zenon Caravella before placing the ball into the far corner of Mark Birighitti’s net.
It sent Sydney fans into raptures as half-time soon followed.
Jets coach Gary Van Egmond threw numbers forward as the second period of play commenced in the hope that his side could salvage at least a point in their opening game after a disappointing 2012/13 season.
Unfortunately for the former AIS assistant coach, the Jets would eventually concede a second.
Former Adelaide United and Gold Coast United midfielder Zenon Caravella was once again on the receiving end of some Del Piero trickery as the Italian assisted Chianese with ensuring the result for Sydney.
Del Piero played a classy ball into the path of Chianese who made amends for his earlier miss by smashing the ball into the roof of the goal.
The Jets were unable to find a goal throughout the remainder of the match and will need to regroup before they face Perth Glory next weekend.
Sydney will look to further their points tally as they travel to Brisbane in what will be a mouth-watering clash against the Roar.
Written by Ellis Gelios