Hyundai A-League - 2012/2013 - Season 8

Del Piero’s magic disgraces Wellington
By Stephen Webb

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 17
5:30pm, Saturday 19 January, 2013
at Sydney Football Stadium

Sydney FC 7
(Joel Griffiths 11, Allessandro Del Piero 21, 23, 39, 70, Jason Culina 26, Yairo Yau 84')
Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Ben Sigmund 79')

Four goals by Alessandro Del Piero — three of them absolute gems — contributed to Sydney’s demolition of Wellington Phoenix tonight.

But for Del Piero’s magic Wellington wouldn’t have been disgraced: Sydney had to make more saves, made fewer crosses and far fewer corners.

Wellington’s problem was that they didn’t have someone like Del Piero finishing his own goals and setting up great chances for others. On a luckier day the visitors might have put away half a dozen of their own but on this glorious day for Sydney they let Sydney’s stars actually live up to their celebrity billing.

Not only Del Piero but also Jason Culina and Brett Emerton found the touch and ability to combine with less-illustrious teammates. Perhaps it was the advent of new signing Joel Griffiths — the piece they needed — that made everything click.

Griffiths looked sharp from the outset and when he trapped a ball on his chest a fan behind me claimed it was the first time all season Sydney had won a long ball.

Sydney had fielded a strong senior side. Blake Powell was the only young newbie who got a look in (from the bench). Terry McFlynn was back as captain after a strong performance coming on in the second half the previous week. Sydney’s other new signing, experienced defender Tiago Calvano, also started:

The most dangerous player in the early stages, however, was Wellington’s Stein Huysegems. He broke between Sydney’s two centre backs and was one-on-one with keeper Vedran Janjetovic, only to flip the ball up into Janjetovic’s right hand.

Leo Bertos had a free kick ten metres outside the top right corner of Sydney’s penalty area and Andrew Durante headed wide. Del Piero had a free kick for Sydney at the other end.

Huysegems continued to create trouble with good movement across the front line, getting to the ball quickly and returning passes.

Tyler Boyd had a running battle with Sydney’s Fabio throughout the match and fouled him twice in the opening ten minutes.

Griffith’s dream start came thanks to Calvano and Del Piero. And his own goalscoring instincts. Calvano passed out long to Del Piero on the halfway line. Del Piero dropped the ball into the Wellington penalty area where Griffiths ran on and slid in to beat Mark Paston.

Rub your eyes. Yes, it’s true. Sydney are winning.

Rhyan Grant made a great tackle to stop Jeremy Brockie, giving Wellington a corner from the left.

Good pressure from Ben Sigmund stopped Griffiths getting his second on a cross from Emerton on the right. Griffiths conceding a foul. Free kick to Wellington.

Huysegems put the ball in the net but was ruled offside.

Culina set up Fabio for an overlap down the left. Fabio’s shot was saved by Paston. A goal by Grant was disallowed because he handled the ball.

Culina, now on the right, won a corner. And a cross from McFlynn found its way to Del Piero, who with his back to his marker dummied left, went right and scored with his left foot.

Things were happening for Sydney that hadn’t happened all season. For instance, their passes were finding one another.

It was clear this was not to be Wellington’s night when Culina won a very soft penalty in the 23rd minute, falling over under pressure from Durante. Del Piero converted and Sydney were ahead 3-0.

Three minutes later Culina scored with a well-taken half volley after a cross from Ali Abbas on the left skirted Griffiths’ head.

Sydney were winning 4-0. Amazing.

“We want ten! We want ten ...!” You never would have imagined Sydney fans chanting that. But now, with that lead in less than half an hour, their joking appeal didn’t seem so fanciful.

Fabio crossed a bit too early for Del Piero, Huysegems should have scored at the left post but headed wide, and Daniel Sanchez evaded McFlynn and his shot was palmed away by Janjetovic. A header by Brockie fell kindly into Janjetovic’s hands.

On 32 minutes a fan was calling, “Come on Sydney, you haven’t scored for ages!”

Fabio, for all his attacking, was also being targeted by Wellington in attacks down their right, running him ragged.

Boyd shot wide and it took a good save from Janjetovic to stop another shot from Boyd across the face of goal from the top left corner of the box.

Sydney were looking vulnerable under Wellington’s crosses but Wellington weren’t making the most of that advantage.

A great ball by Emerton found Del Piero, who was fouled by the yellow-carded Vince Lia. From the free kick Sydney played the ball around the Wellington penalty area until Culina found Del Piero in the left side of the box. Del Piero cut in and around Bertos and scored into the top right corner. Five nil.

Another Del Piero free kick from the left was met by Grant and called a good reflex save from Paston.

McFlynn stopped Alexander Smith on the goal line, conceding a corner, headed high by Boyd.

But Wellington were still trying and looking as if they could score.

As half time approached a good cross came in from Fabio but Paston dived to collect at the feet of Griffiths.

“We haven’t scored for ten minutes.”

“Yeah, it’s getting boring.”

The second half wasn’t as much fun for Sydney supporters.

Sigmund picked up a yellow for fouling Del Piero and a Culina cross from the left was headed over by Griffiths.

“We’re off our game. We missed a shot.”

Del Piero and Emerton and then Emerton and Griffiths played a pretty sequence of first-time passes.

“What’s happening, Sydney? You’re playing football!”

Fabio ran to goal from the left and shot into Paston when Del Piero was open at the top of the box.

Tony Lochhead robbed Emerton and put Huysegems in for a cross. Del Piero held the ball too long before releasing what could have been a perfect through pass. Sydney had clearly lost some of their lustre. The game was dying.

Boyd attempted a Del Piero-styled shot and won a corner. Grant and Emerton sandwiched Boyd and Wellington had a free kick outside the top left corner of Sydney’s penalty area. Lochhead’s kick was just touched away by Janjetovic. Wellington had a corner that fell for Brockie, who had a free header that won Wellington another corner.

Sydney countered and a through ball from Griffiths found Culina offside.

In the 64th minute some good work by McFlynn allowed Abbas to get in a shot that called a good save from Paston. At the other end another shot from Boyd was blocked.

A cross from Lochhead on the left found Brockie at the right post but his header went straight into the arms of Janjetovic.

Culina fumbled a superb ball from Emerton. It would have been a wonderful chance. Del Piero received the ball on the half way line.


Abbas down the left fed Del Piero into the Wellington penalty area. Del Piero easily rounded Durante and scored another one. Six nil.

McFlynn was dispossessed and a Bertos shot was deflected for a Wellington corner.

Brockie ankle-tapped Grant on his way to goal and collected a yellow card.

Sydney were getting a bit fancy now. And could afford to. Del Piero was turning on the tricks and Emerton and Grant were enjoying one-another’s first-time passes. But on a pull back from Yairo Yau, who had replaced Griffiths, Del Piero miscued his shot.

Paul Ifill coming on for Wellington mixed things up more than a little. Ifill hit a first time volley across goal and then, after some persistent crossing from Wellington, Ifill chipped in from the right and Sigmund, who had dropped back after being a gentleman and helping McClenahan to his feet, was open to head home.

Emerton, looking flat, missed a pass from Yau. It looked as if the Socceroo should take a well-deserved rest. A fan next to me thought Culina was struggling. But it was Del Piero who made way for Blake Powell. The standing ovation was the least he deserved.

With Del Piero and Griffiths gone one could have thought Sydney’s goalscoring was over. But the two substitutes combined to create a seventh goal. Yau, who ran back from Wellington’s penalty area to pick up a Phoenix clearance, finished a beautiful goal on a deft return pass from Powell. As if to say, Hey, we can play football too!


Emerton was clearly tiring and getting wasteful. Fabio made a good tackle to stop Louis Fenton crossing from the right.

Emerton shot into the side netting, Ifill hit the crossbar, Durante had a dig and Brockie had a soft shot to the left post. Ifill screwed a shot high and Emerton took on four opponents instead of passing to players to his left and right.

But did it matter he wanted a goal too?

Not at all.

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 17
5:30pm, Saturday 19 January, 2013
at Sydney Football Stadium

Sydney FC 7
(Joel Griffiths 11, Allessandro Del Piero 21, 23, 39, 70, Jason Culina 26, Yairo Yau 84')
Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Ben Sigmund 79')

    Crowd: 12,691


    Sydney FC :
    Player listing:
    20. Vedran Janjetovic (gk), 2. Sebastian Ryall, 3. Fabio, 6. Jason Culina, 7. Brett Emerton, 10. Alessandro Del Piero (12. Blake Powell 83’), 13. Tiago Calvano (18. Trent McClenahan 57’), 15. Terry McFlynn, 22. Ali Abbas, 23. Rhyan Grant, 29. Joel Griffiths (21. Yairo Yau 65’)

    Substitutes not used: 33. Matthew Nash (rgk)

    Coach: Frank Farina

    Yellow Cards: Ali Abbas 68'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Mark Paston (gk), 3. Tony Lochhead, 6. Alexander Smith, 7. Leo Bertos, 10. Stein Huysegems (8. Paul Ifill 65’), 11. Jeremy Brockie, 12. Tyler Boyd, 17. Vince Lia, 18. Ben Sigmund, 21. Daniel Sanchez (16. Louie Fenton 84’), 22. Andrew Durante

    Substitutes not used: 20. Glen Moss (gk), 9. Benjamin Totori

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Vince Lia 38’, Ben Sigmund 47’, Jeremy Brockie 73’
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Kris Griffith-Jones 7/10
    AR1: Rodney Allen, AR2: Leigh Pigram; 4th Official: Stephen Lucas

    BOTN Player Points:
    > 4. Alessandra Del Piero (Sydney FC)
    1. Jason Culina (Sydney FC)
    1. Brett Emerton (Sydney FC)
    If I had another point I’d give it to Joel Griffiths. If there were any other points on offer Wellington’s best players would lose them for not making important tackles and missing good chances.

    Pitch rating: 7/10

    Game rating: 7/10

    Match report, photos and ratings: By Stephen Webb

Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their compete accuracy although we do strive for that. Any photos used here are as attributed.

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