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Wellington V Sydney
WELLINGTON REGIONAL STADIUM, WELLINGTON, 6 OCTOBER 2012
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Alessandro Del Piero begins his A-League career with a tough trip across the Tasman as Sydney FC play a Wellington Phoenix side that has had the wood over the Sky Blues in recent matches. Join us for live scores and commentary from 4:30pm AEST.
Much of the focus on tonight’s match will be on the performance of Italian legend Del Piero and should coach Ian Crook start him, Sydney FC will need their star talisman performing at his best if they are to leave Wellington with all three points.
The Phoenix have won their past four matches against Sydney and will be keen to continue their dominance over the Sky Blues with a strong showing in their first home game of the season.
While Del Piero does represent the biggest threat to Wellington’s chances of victory, the Phoenix should be aware that the former Juventus player may be lacking match fitness heading into tonight’s tussle.
Del Piero’s last competitive match was in the Coppa Italia final in May, where he played 60 minutes for Juventus in a 2-0 loss to Napoli.
Five months without football is a long time in anyone’s book so it may take a little while for Del Piero to click into gear for Sydney FC.
If Del Piero is slow out of the blocks, the onus will be on Brett Emerton to ignite Sydney’s attack against a Phoenix defence that is difficult to break through at the best of times.
Wellington will no doubt be keen to crowd the space in between defence and midfield in a bid to unsettle Del Piero and deny him the space necessary to gather his rhythm and supreme ball control.
If Del Piero is kept quiet, it remains to be seen if Sydney possesses the attacking arsenal necessary to trouble Wellington on the scoreboard given their lack of match practice during the pre-season.
With both teams fairly evenly matched, this could well end up being a grinding affair at the Cake Tin and it wouldn’t surprise to see both teams start their campaign with a score draw.
Prediction: Wellington 1-1 Sydney