A-League: Sydney 2 Newcastle Jets 0
By Football News
Alessandro Del Piero was instrumental as Sydney cruised to a 2-0 season-opening win over Newcastle Jets on Friday at Allianz Stadium.
Del Piero's class lit up an often dour contest and he proved the difference in the end, sending the home side on their way to victory with an opportunistic first-half opener.
The veteran Italian then set up Joel Chianese's strike 15 minutes after the break to seal a well-deserved three points in front of more than 20,000 fans.
It was a typically cagey start from both sides in their first competitive match of the season, with little in the way of goalmouth action in the first 20 minutes.
Matt Thompson went close for the home side midway through the first half when he unleashed a dipping volley from 30 yards that rattled the crossbar before bouncing back and hitting Mark Birighitti in the back and somehow bouncing away from danger.
It signalled a period of dominance for the Sky Blues with Del Piero breaking the deadlock nine minutes before the break, although he was helped by some shoddy defending.
Receiving the ball just inside the Jets half, Del Piero ran at a retreating defence and into the box before it appeared the move broke down as Connor Chapman won the ball.
But the young defender got in a tangle with team-mate Caravella, gifting the ball back to Sydney's marquee man, and he took advantage, slotting past Birighitti.
The 38-year-old then turned provider 15 minutes after the break, dispossessing Caravella just inside the Jets' half before bearing down on goal.
He summed up the situation perfectly before teeing up Chianese, who got the ball out of his feet before firing into the roof of the net.
The Jets tried hard to force their way back into the contest but rarely troubled the Sydney defence apart from a couple of free-kicks from just outside the area.
It could have been even better for the home side but Richard Garcia's would-be debut goal was chalked off for offside with less than five minutes to go.