Alessandro Del Piero scored the first goal of the A-League season and assisted on a second as Sydney FC defeated Newcastle Jets 2-0 in front of 20,103 at the Allianz Stadium on Friday. The 38-year-old captain scored as half-time neared, taking advantage of a Jets defensive blunder and giving the Sky Blues all they needed to take three points from the season opener. Joel Chianese's goal on the hour sealed the win for Sydney.
Newly-signed Matt Thompson, the former Newcastle captain, nearly opened scoring in spectacular fashion in the 26th minute when his 25-yard volley struck the crossbar. Yet it Del Piero who found the score sheet first, about ten minutes later. Del Piero lost the ball in the Jets box with Connor Chapman controlling it before Zenon Caravella ran into his teammate, springing the ball loose and giving Sydney's Marquee Player a new look. Del Piero maneuvered through the rest of the Newcastle defense and placed the ball into the far corner for his fifteenth Sydney goal and first of this season.
Chianese doubled the lead for the home side in the 60th minute when Del Piero took the ball off Caravella and gave the 23-year-old forward the chance to lash a shot past Mark Birighitti. Chianese, who stepped into a starting role after a recent injury to Corey Gameiro, rewarded manager Frank Farina's decision and provided the insurance goal to see off Newcastle.
As might be expected, the Jets controlled 54% of possession and out-passed Sydney by 119 but with only a solitary Craig Goodwin shot on target, Newcastle never looked particularly threatening. Jacob Pepper did hit the crossbar with a header in injury time but the ball caroming off Vedran Janjetovic's frame was nothing more than a symbol of the night's difficulties for the visitors.
Sydney play next at Brisbane Roar on Saturday October 19 at Suncorp Stadium. Newcastle will try to rebound in hosting Perth Glory on Sunday October 20 at the Hunter Stadium.
SYD Del Piero 37'
SYD Chianese (Del Piero) 60'
Sydney FC: Janjetovic; Ryall, Warren, Petkovic, Bojic; Thompson (Grant 69'), Abbas, Carle; Garcia (Mallia 85'), Chianese (Naumoff 90'), Del PIero
Unused subs: Necevski, Jurman
Newcastle Jets: Birighitti; Neville, Jaliens, Chapman (Pepper 81'), Gallaway; Caravella (Brillante 64'), Zadkovich, Goodwin, Burns; Virgili (Brown 64'), Taggart
Unused subs: Kennedy, Hoole