Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets kicked off the era of free-to-air football, with SBS covering national league football for the first time since the league’s inception. In what was a fairly average game, two Jets errors either side of half time provided the ammunition for Sydney FC to win the game 2:0.
With The Cove in full voice, the game started with Sydney in the ascendancy. Controlling possession, the Sky Blues looked patient enough, waiting for the right opportunities. However, Newcastle slowly worked their way into the game. Ruben Zadkovich and Zenon Caravella looked to pull the strings for side missing Emile Heskey.
The first real opportunity fell to Sydney. Injury replacement signing Matt Thompson, rushed into the starting XI, saw his 25th minute effort thunder back off the crossbar into Jets goal-keeper Mark Birighitti’s back with the ball somehow staying out.
But 10 minutes later it was the former Juventus legend and Sky Blues’ star, Alessandro Del Piero, who opened the scoring. Del Piero made a bursting run into the box. Watching two Jets defenders crash into each, Del Piero nutmegged Caravella along the way before putting the ball in at the far post to make it 1:0 for the home side.
The goal seemed to inspire the Sky Blues. A minute before half time, it was Del Piero again taking a shot from distance this time. However the result was different this time round, with Birighitti watching the ball sail just over the bar.
The second half continued in the same vein as the first. Increasing pressure from Sydney early in the half saw Caravella cough up the ball to Del Piero on halfway. Del Piero ran 40 metres, dragging in defender Kew Jaliens out-of-place. That subsequently led to Joel Chianese finding himself in space, whom Del Piero laid off to and Chianese took the opportunity, crashing the ball into the roof of the net to make it 2:0.
With the crowd in raptures, Sydney pushed for a third. It did come and it was another new Sydney FC signing, Richard Garcia, who put the ball in. But the linesman correctly ruled offside in the lead up to Garcia tapping it in.
Brillante was later brought on for the lacklustre Caravella. And despite threatening Sydney’s defence at times, the Socceroos’ Under-20 World Cup star was unable help his side salvage anything as Sydney were able to cruise to the final whistle.
Man of the Match: Seb Ryall
Honourable Mentions: Matt Thompson, Pedj Bojic, Nick Carle