Sydney FC 2 Newcastle Jets 0

Leading by example: Skipper Alessandro Del Piero slides home the opener for Sydney FC in their first-up victory over Newcastle on Friday night.

Leading by example: Skipper Alessandro Del Piero slides home the opener for Sydney FC in their first-up victory over Newcastle on Friday night. Photo: Anthony Johnson

It was a game tailored for excuses in the post-match press conference: injuries, a new-look squad and another year of rebuilding for Sydney FC, but in the end, the Sky Blues put forward their case that three years of mediocrity may finally be over after opening their A-League account with an comfortable 2-0 win over Newcastle Jets.

In stark contrast to their form in preseason, the Sky Blues emerged disciplined, confident and at times stylish as they easily dismantled the youthful Jets.

Coach Frank Farina's mantra throughout preseason has been a focus on retaining possession and playing out from defence and their performance against Newcastle suggested that it's finally beginning to stick.

Italian job: Sydney players celebrate with Del Piero after his first-half strike.

Italian job: Sydney players celebrate with Del Piero after his first-half strike. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Time
90.00
Team
SYD
Score
2
Team
NWJ
Score
0
Sydney FC versus Newcastle Jets FC
View Match Statistics
Players Del-Piero (36min), Chianese (60min) Goals

The opening stanza offered little content for the highlight reel, but Sydney did fulfil their promise to play the ball out of defence and retain possession. They were more composed and fluid, though their transition into attack was still someway off coming into fruition.

The game burst into life in the 23rd minute with Sydney FC striker Joel Chianese playing a pivotal role at either end. The young forward dropped to cover a flowing Jets move and denied Sam Gallaway a one-on-one from close range with an inch-perfect diving tackle that spared his defenders blushes.

On the resulting counter-attack, Del Piero played Chianese into space with a well weighted pass, though, the striker couldn't repeat his success at the other end. He spurned a clear goal scoring chance with a poor first touch and conceded a foul after tackling the keeper in his attempt to salvage the attack.

Nick Carle heads the ball. Click for more photos

Sydney FC v Newcastle Jets

Nick Carle heads the ball. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Minutes later, Sydney FC fans were celebrating the first goal of the new season. Or so they thought. Thompson struck a first time volley that came crashing off the underside of the crossbar into the back of Birighitti. Spectators thought the ball had spilled into the back of the net, but it spun across the goal line and back into play.

Alessandro Del Piero struggled to break through the speed of the Jets young defence, but through a stroke of luck and then a superb display of individualism, the fleet-footed Italian did what he was brought here to do. The Sydney captain darted around Conor Chapman but as Zenon Caravella came to smother the attack, a catastrophic mix-up at the back followed. Chapman stumbled across Caravella to gift Del Piero the ball again and after a swift nutmeg of Caravella, he showed his years of experience to slot the ball into the far corner, beyond the reach of Birighitti minutes before the break.

Whether it was premature desperation or a tactical reshuffle, the Jets threw numbers forward into their attack after the restart, with fullbacks Sam Galloway and Scott Neville treading into the final third. It seemed only a matter of time before they would be exposed on the counter. Fifteen minutes to be exact.

Del Piero dispossessed Caravella on the halfway line and with just two Jets defenders behind the ball and three Sydney strikers bearing down on goal, there was only to be one outcome. Del Piero showed his experience by bursting through the middle to draw their two defenders, before jinking a no-look pass to Chianese to his right. The young forward bore down on goal and made amends for his earlier error by slamming the ball high into the roof of the net, eliciting a massive roar from the crowd of 20,103.