Sydney FC started its Italian tour with a 3-2 loss to Serie B side Padova in Alessandro Del Piero’s return to his first professional football club but it was the performance of the Sky Blues that sparked optimism for the season ahead.
Sydney FC started its Italian tour with a 3-2 loss to Serie B side Padova in Alessandro Del Piero-s return to his first professional football club but it was the performance of the Sky Blues that sparked optimism for the season ahead.
The match also signified the first time an A-League side had played against European opposition in Europe as the Sky Blues took on the club where Del Piero started his professional career as a 16-year-old in 1991.
Goals to Brett Emerton and a Nick Carle penalty were just reward for Sydney FC, who played some attractive football after falling behind within the first four minutes.
Coach Frank Farina sent out his strongest possible team in the 4-3-3 formation the Sky Blues have been working on all pre season with Vedran Janjetovic patrolling the back four of Pedj Bojic, Sebastian Ryall, Matt Jurman and Marc Warren. Nick Carle, Brett Emerton and Rhyan Grant made up the midfield trio with Corey Gameiro, Del Piero and trialist Vedran Niksic at the pointy end of the attack.
Following a nervous start against a Padova side that pressed very high in attack, Sydney FC worked their way into the game and levelled the scores when Emerton scored with a sweet left foot volley in the 12th minute. The goal was well deserved from the Socceroo midfielder who thrived in his new central midfield position.
Soon after equalising Sydney FC fell behind 2-1 when they failed to clear a corner and Padova striker Daniole Vantaggito pounced to bag his second goal of the game with a toe poke into the back of the net.
Both teams had chances leading up to half time but neither could bother the scoreboard attendant and Padova took a lead into the break.
The second half saw Sydney FC continue to keep possession and they looked the team most likely with Gameiro, Grant and Niksic all having good chances but it was Padova who scored next when Enaj Jelenic finished off a slick move to make it 3-1 in the 81st minute.
The goal saw Farina allow Del Piero an early exit and the standing ovation the occasion deserved when he was replaced in the 83rd minute but had he stayed on the field the crowd of 15,688 would have got what they wanted.
A Peter Triantis free kick in the 88th minute was goalbound before a Padova defender handled the ball and Nick Carle stepped up to slot home the penalty kick Del Piero would surely have taken if still on the field.
The match ended with Padova claiming a 3-2 win but the performance gave Coach Frank Farina plenty to the happy about leading into the new season, which kicks off on October 11 against Newcastle Jets at Allianz Stadium.
Sydney FC takes on a team from Serie A club Udinese, made up of reserve team and youth team players tomorrow night in Jesolo where Farina will rotate his squad to give the remainder of the players some game time. Tomorrow night-s match kicks off at 6pm (2am Thursday Sydney time).
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Padova Calcio 3 (Daniole Vantaggito 4, 15, Enaj Jelenic 81) d Sydney FC 2 (Brett Emerton 8, Nick Carle 84pen)
Stadio Euganeo, Padova
Sydney FC team: Vedran JANJETOVIC, Pedj BOJIC, Sebastian RYALL, Matt JURMAN, Marc WARREN (Peter TRIANTIS 76), Brett EMERTON (Ali ABBAS 81), Nick CARLE, Rhyan GRANT, Alessandro DEL PIERO (Mitch MALLIA 84), Corey GAMEIRO, Vedran NIKSIC (Joel CHIANESE 76).
Subs not used: Ivan NECEVSKI, Tiago CALVANO, Jacob TRATT.