Classic Matches | Del Piero demolishes Phoenix

Sunday, 1 September 2013 1:25 PM

Australia 1


You would find it hard to argue that anyone has set the Hyundai A-League alight in the same way that Italian football icon Alessandro Del Piero has.

Since he touched down on Australian shores the diminutive forward has caused havoc for rival defenders throughout the league.

This was none more so the case when Del Piero and his Sydney FC teammates claimed their biggest A-League victory to date.

The Wellington Phoenix headed across the ditch to face the Sky Blues in round 17 of the competition and were hoping an away victory could get them off the bottom of the ladder. It couldn’t have gone much worse though.

While Del Piero was the star it was new signing Joel Griffiths who got the scoring underway in the 11th minute after returning to the A-League from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.

Del Piero was given too much space in the midfield as he chipped through to Griffiths who put the game’s first goal under a sliding Phoenix goalkeeper Mark Paston.

The Italian maestro got his first on the 21st minute when a low cross fell to him in the box before he curled the ball into the left corner after beating his marker.

Two minutes on Sydney had an opportunity for their third when Andrew Durante cleared the ball from the edge of the box before bumping into Jason Culina.

The collision resulted in a contentious penalty as Del Piero stepped up to the mark to grab his second as Paston went to his left and the Italian to his right.

It was three goals in under six minutes as a bobbling Ali Abbas cross from the left wing found Jason Culina who drilled the ball from the edge of the box into the bottom right corner to have the score at 4-0

The best was yet to come though as Del Piero made his way into the box, faked to shoot to have his defender on the back foot and then curled it past Paston to earn himself his first A-League hat-trick.

5-0 down at the break the Phoenix couldn’t do any worse in the second half and held the Sky Blues out until the 70th minute when their nemesis struck again.

Del Piero showed superb control on the ball to beat Durante down the left before again sending the ball past Paston as the ADP show rolled on.

Ben Sigmund got Phoenix’s lone goal on 80 minutes as he rose above the Sydney FC defense to head home.

But the final word went to Sydney as substitute Yairo Yau completed the 7-1 demolition after a one-two pass found him wide open in the box.

Del Piero had four, the Sky Blues had their largest ever victory and the Phoenix had a night to forget.

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