Melbourne: Italian World Cup winner Alessandro Del Piero scored four goals for the first time in his 22-year career to spark a revival for Sydney FC in this weekend’s Australia’s A-League.
The 38-year-old Juventus and Italy legend was instoppable on Saturday as Sydney FC hammered bottom team Wellington Phoenix 7-1 to recharge their season and climb to the fringe of the top six.
Del Piero was instrumental in Sydney’s stoppage-time 2-1 win over Melbourne Heart the previous week in a turnaround in fortunes. He has now scored nine goals in his debut season in Australia.
“For sure in the last game [against the Heart], I hope maybe something changed in our minds,” Del Piero said. “Hopefully this is another step for our season. At the moment we have to talk about hope but we know with work we can do better for sure, day by day.”
Central Coast Mariners lead the competition by three points after 17 rounds over Adelaide United. Del Piero’s Sydney are just one point outside the top six who will play off for the title later in the season.
The Mariners, who lost their outstanding young prospect Tom Rogic to Celtic during the week, were held to a scoreless draw at home by the Newcastle Jets on Saturday.
Goalkeeper Mark Birighitti ensured Newcastle shared the points with a full-stretch save to prevent Michael McGlinchey scoring from close range just before half-time.
Melbourne Heart moved into the top six with a 2-0 home win over Adelaide United on Friday, goals in both halves by Josip Tadic and Richard Garcia securing the victory.
Melbourne Victory are third after beating Perth Glory after a Scott Jamieson own goal in the first half in Perth, while competition newcomers Western Sydney Wanderers continued their excellent run with two late goals in a 2-1 win over defending champions Brisbane Roar in Brisbane on Sunday.
The Roar looked set to get their title defence back on track after two straight defeats with a first-half opener before Mark Bridge and Dutchman Yousuf Hersi pounced for Wanderers to take home the points.