Alessandro Del Piero is the face of the A-League and on Saturday afternoon, after weeks of injury concerns and contract negotiation, he delivered like a true superstar.
Sydney FC embarrassed Wellington 7-1 behind four Del Piero goals and the second fastest hat-trick in A-League history.
Sydney looked like a brand new team; recent signing Joel Griffiths scored the opener in what was a fantastic debut before Del Piero turned on the magic to help extend the Sky Blue’s lead to five goals within 39 minutes.
Griffiths' return to Australia after two years in China was an impressive one and his 11th minutes goal, coming from a long Del Piero delivery, showed a lot of class and instinct.
Del Piero opened his account in the 21st minute when he was given far too much space in the box and converted an easy shot. His second came from a penalty when Jason Culina was brought down inside the box. Culina made it 4-0 with a goal of his own in the 26th minute before Del Piero’s hat-trick was achieved powerful, curling strike from the top of the box. It took him an amazing 18 minutes.
It was the first time in the 38-year-old Del Piero’s illustrious career that he had scored four goals in a game.
The loss was a new low in an already tumultuous season for Wellington. Coach Ricki Herbert now undoubtedly will face even more scrutiny regarding his job security, but the experienced coach still believes he is the man for the job.
"I'm as hungry as ever," Herbert said. "There's still a lot to build about this club.
"It's tough, very, very tough at the moment but I'm just as keen to get us out of this."
"That's the most disappointing performance from a team that I've had at the football club," he said.
"It was totally unacceptable at both ends of the pitch.
"It's not like we didn't have goal-scoring opportunities, we just weren't good enough to take them and at the back we were exposed by better players."
Melbourne Victory nabbed their first win in Perth in over three years on Saturday night with a 1-0 result.
Perth defender Scott Jamieson’s own goal helped the Victory to their third Perth win from 12 attempts as they continue their momentum fuelled push to narrow the gap between themselves and Adelaide United to two points.
The Glory had their opportunities to produce an equaliser, but a number of chances went squandered.
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