Italian maestro Alessandro Del Piero pulled the strings on Saturday as Sydney FC retained their place in the A-League top six with a 2-0 win over the Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium.
Del Piero found an unmarked Sasa Ognenovski running into the box with a corner kick on 60 minutes and the defender’s header was clinical.
Del Piero, likely in his last match in Newcastle, then earned a penalty and converted it in the 72nd minute. The 39-year-old ran towards goal and drew the foul from centre-back Taylor Regan, who stuck his leg out to give the crafty former Juventus star every chance to secure the spot-kick.
Sixth before round 20, Sydney kept their place in the six with their second win on the trot, which came after they were booed from the field by their fans following a 3-0 loss to Adelaide.
The loss was another blow to Newcastle’s fading finals hopes and came after a morale-boosting 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar.
Sydney marginally had the better of a goalless first half, creating the best chance when Ranko Despotovic ran onto a lovely through ball close to goal in the 30th minute only to be denied by Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti.
Adam Taggart and James Virgili were wide with shots for Newcastle before that and Ognenovski hit a header straight at Birighitti in the 36th minute.
Joel Griffiths proved a spark for Newcastle and the 12,449 fans after coming on for Emile Heskey in the 61st minute but Sydney held firm.