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Del Piero and Sydney fire home seven

By Chris Pike
20 January 2013 03:32AM EST

SYDNEY FC emphatically jumped into the A-League top-six with a 7-1 thumping of Wellington Phoenix highlighted by four goals from superstar Allesandro Del Piero.

In the first of three matches played on Saturday, Sydney jumped up, albeit briefly, into sixth position with an amazing 7-1 thumping of bottom-placed Wellington.

The Newcastle Jets then reclaimed sixth spot off the Sky Blues with a scoreless draw with league-leaders Central Coast Mariners, while at nib Stadium, Melbourne Victory beat Perth Glory 1-0 thanks to an own goal from Glory defender Scott Jamieson.

It was an incredible performance from Sydney that was equally as emphatic to show that the Sky Blues remain a definite finals danger despite holding up the ladder for the most of the season to date, and for how far the Phoenix have fallen after playing finals last season.

The rout didn’t take long to get underway and in the 11th minute, on debut for Sydney, Joel Griffiths scored and then it was time for the Del Piero show as the Italian master put on a display that his Sky Blue fans have been waiting all season to see.

Del Piero scored in the 20th minute, 23rd (penalty), 39th and 70th as he became just the second A-League player to score four goals in a match and fell just short of Archie Thompson's record of five.

It was another veteran Jason Culina who added another goal in the 26th minute and Yairo Yau finished off the job in the 84th with Sydney's seventh of the match. Ben Sigmund managed nothing more than a consolation goal for Wellington in the 79th minute.

Del Piero now hopes it kickstarts Sydney's season as they make a charge towards cementing a spot in the top-six.

"I'm really happy because we started from the first minute tonight focused and obviously I am happy that I scored four times," Del Piero said.

"This is one of the best performances from us for sure and we are very happy, but 7-1 is like 1-0. It's three points and we need be concentrated on our next game now.

"I thought our last game started it for us when we were 1-0 down but scored twice in the last two minutes. That changed our season I think and we hope this one changes it for us too."

It was a relatively tame affair in the F3 Derby at Bluetongue Stadium with both Newcastle and Central Coast failing to score, but there was plenty of interest off the pitch with Jets coach Gary van Egmond accusing his Mariners counterpart Graham Arnold of ignoring his suspension.

Arnold was suspended from coaching the team after his red card send off in last week's 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory, but van Egmond didn’t believe he adhered to it.

Arnold was accused of talking with one of his assistants on an earpiece and van Egmond said he attempted to raise the matter with the fourth official during the game but his efforts were rebuffed.

"The fourth official wouldn't talk to me, you are not allowed to talk to them but I would have thought he could have been a bit more switched on," van Egmond said.

"The rules are the rules. If I was the fourth official and I saw one of the assistant coaches with an earpiece and a walkie talkie and you know the coach isn't actually on the bench what would you think?

"I was just wondering who they were talking to. Apparently it was Adrian Pellegrino, so if that was the case that was the case. But again if you are going to make rules I thought the match official could have asked, maybe he did and that was that."

Meanwhile in Perth, the Victory remained just two points behind second-placed Adelaide and five behind the Mariners with a 1-0 win over the Glory.

The goal came in the 24th minute when Jamieson tipped in an own goal when trying to stop Archie Thompson getting a boot to a cross. That proved the match-winner, but the Glory continued to fight despite being down to 10 men after a second yellow card to Josh Risdon.

The home side had one last desperate chance to score and substitute Ryo Nagai struck one beautifully from long range that hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced down on the goal line, but didn’t quite cross.

Victory coach Ange Postecoglou was well aware it wasn’t his team's most sparkling performance, but the three points to keep pace with Central Coast and Adelaide was what mattered most.

"It wasn’t pleasing on the eye from our point of view in terms of how we want to play. There were times when we knocked it around OK and we sort of set ourselves up to play a little bit on the counterattack to see if we could get in behind them, which we did but we didn’t finish it off," Postecoglou said.

"When you don’t score that second goal it keeps the opposition in the game and they were pretty desperate for a result, and we made it hard for ourselves, but it's a tough trip over here and we haven't had great results over here. In the context of the season as well with the way the other results went, the result was the most important thing and we got that."

Glory coach Ian Ferguson was reasonably pleased with the effort of his side, but knows that effort counts for little when you continue to take nothing out of games and keep on sliding down the ladder.

"We have nothing to show for it again. I am sick and tired of their hard luck stories, we need to convert them into points. We got down to 10 men and they created a couple of chances that could have finished us off, but the boys kept going to the end again," Ferguson said.

"We hit the crossbar twice again and we just aren’t getting that little bounce that we need. I thought we nicked it at the end when it went over the goalkeeper's head, but it just didn’t go. It's frustrating, but we have to keep going and keep believing in what we are doing because I think what we are doing is on the right road. We just need to convert some of these chances."

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