Alessandro Del Piero made his A-League debut on Saturday night in Wellington but had little to show for it as the Wellington Phoenix defeated Sydney FC 2-0 on a rainy night.
Wellington really controlled the match and highlighted a problem that this Sydney FC side must overcome to keep the Del Piero hype going as Sydney FC struggled to ever get any decent service to their star number ten.
Ivan Necevski was the only thing preventing Sydney FC from conceding in the 12th minute when Alex Smith leaped highest to head goalward only for Necevski to make the vital save.
Sydney FC’s best chance came through Del Piero in the 14th minute in one of the few opportunities he received the ball that wasn’t a set piece Del Piero got around Manny Muscat but could only send his shot well over the bar.
Sydney FC’s defense played too narrow, constantly allowing Wellington the opportunity to attack on the right wing which twice threatened a goal early in the half as new players Louis Fenton and Benjamin Totori both had opportunities to open the scoring.
Fenton saw his effort from distance saved while Totori was left wide open on the right of the box but could only shoot in to the woodwork.
In the 32nd minute Andrew Durante had a goal disallowed for the Phoenix as Necevski was impeded allowing Durante to head home, the referee ruling that Necevski was impeded by Ben Sigmund although it seemed to be his own team mate that prevented him stopping the cross.
In the 43rd minute Wellington’s domination finally paid off as Stein Huysegems scored his first goal in a Phoenix kit as he got past the Sydney defense thanks to a nice ball from Muscat before finishing calmly past Necevski.
Sydney had two chances late in the half both coming off Del Piero set pieces as Trent McClenahan headed a corner wide and Kruno Lovrek followed suit from a free-kick keeping Wellington 1-0 up at the break.
Sydney looked to push more in the second half but still struggled to create any real chances as the Phoenix defense continued to prove an immovable wall.
After the hour mark Paul Ifil came on for the hosts and made his impact felt forcing Necevski in to a save with his feet to keep it down to just one, that produced a string of corners that Wellington failed to do anything with.
Sydney FC should have equalized when Joel Chianese’s shot was spilled by Mark Paston only for Ali Abbas to hit it right at the stranded Paston, sparing Wellington.
Wellington finally sealed the match in the 75th minute and it was a Del Piero mistake that started the play as Muscat stole possession from the Italian allowing him to fire a ball over the Sydney FC defense for Louis Fenton to head home and give Wellington an impressive 2-0 victory.
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