Del Piero the difference as Sydney down rivals

LIAM FITZGIBBON
Last updated 23:57 20/10/2012
Alessandro Del Piero
Getty Images
PURE ELATION: Alessandro Del Piero celebrates scoring the winner for Sydney FC against Western Sydney.

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Superstar Alessandro Del Piero proved the difference as Sydney FC prevailed 1-0 over new neighbours Western Sydney in the city's first A-League derby on Saturday night.

In an entertaining match played in front of a vocal crowd of 19,126 at Parramatta Stadium, the Italian import earned a controversial penalty and scored a short time later in dramatic fashion to give the Sky Blues their first win of the season.

The 37-year-old striker was ordered to retake a successful first spot kick, had his second saved by Ante Covic, but scored from the rebound in the 54th minute for his second A-League goal.

The result eased the early pressure on the Sky Blues after back-to-back losses while the Wanderers were far from disgraced in another performance that showed they won't be easybeats this season.

Tony Popovic's side is still yet to score in three matches, though they were looking threatening until some Del Piero magic broke the deadlock after halftime.

The marquee signing showed superb footwork as he kept possession inside the box before going down, with referee Strebre Delovski ruling a foul on Aaron Mooy.

The decision did not go down well with the home fans, who felt the marquee man had taken a dive.

Drama then followed, as Del Piero cooly slotted the spot kick before being ordered to retake it because of an early encroachment on the penalty box.

He had his next effort saved but showed cool composure to score on the rebound.

While Sydney's marquee signing produced when it counted, in truth it hadn't been his best night up to that point as he coughed up possession several times in the first half.

He did come close to scoring early with an ambitious long-range free kick sailing just over the bar in the 11th minute and had another shot saved a minute later.

Adam D'Appuzo came close for the home side in the 17th minute with a curling long range effort but their best chance of the half came as Mark Bridge's close-range header was blocked after some sloppy keeping from Ivan Necevski.

Bridge was wasteful at times against his former club as he and Dino Kresinger missed good headed chances to equalise late in the second half.

Western Sydney's Japanese star Shinji Ono looked lively but received some close attention early on from midfielder Paul Reid, who started in place of dropped Sydney captain Terry McFlynn.

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- AAP

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