ITALIAN maestro Alessandro Del Piero pulled the strings as Sydney FC retained their place in the 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 the 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.
MELBOURNE Victory twice came from behind to record an astounding 4-3 victory over Adelaide United on Saturday in a classic encounter.
In a rollercoaster game, Victory looked unlikely after halftime, trailing 2-1 to two Sergio Cirio goals and with Socceroo midfielder Tom Rogic hobbling off with an apparent foot injury.
But Victory's Gui Finkler again wiped out the deficit before a Eugene Galekovic howler allowed Archie Thompson to give the Melbourne team the lead for the first time.
Kosta Barbarouses appeared to make the game safe after 75 minutes, but Cirio again netted for a worthy hat-trick keeping both managers on edge until the final whistle.
Of most concern was Rogic, who was caught unawares on the right boot by teammate Leigh Broxham minutes into the second half, being substituted after clutching his right foot.
Adelaide started sharpest in the match-up between the two great rivals, catching Victory napping with less than three minutes on the clock when Cirio lashed home a cross from Fabio Ferreira.
Isaias's through-ball to Ferreira was pinpoint and, while the Victory defence crowded Bruce Djite, the cross instead found Cirio who was given no attention from marker Scott Galloway.
Finkler had the Victory back on terms after 14 minutes.
Receiving Thompson's quick pass, Finkler spectacularly flicked the ball in the air and volleyed home from the edge of the area past Galekovic at full stretch.
With the game settling into a rhythm, Adelaide's possession-based football and the Victory's rapid counter-attacking style generated chances for both sides.
But it was Cirio who popped up again just before halftime, finishing after great work from Djite holding off Nick Ansell to provide the assist through his legs.
Rogic's departure after halftime silenced the stadium but Finkler had the crowd dancing after 57 minutes, finishing at the near post after fancy footwork from Broxham.
Ten minutes later, crowd favourite Thompson pounced when Galekovic miskicked a clearance without any pressure, rolling the ball into an empty net.
Adelaide fans thought they had a penalty on 72 minutes when Coe appeared to bring down Jeronimo Neumann but referee Kris Griffiths-Jones instead signalled a goal kick.
With Adelaide pushing for an equaliser, the Victory had their fourth with a quarter-hour remaining when Barbarouses finished his own break.
The New Zealander found the best afield Finkler who, with Troisi, danced through the Reds' defence, setting up the Victory's fourth goal.
Cirio - who wriggled free to beat Coe a third time in the 83rd minute - gave United a final chance to get something from the game, but the Victory made it through five minutes of stoppage time to celebrate.
AND later, Perth Glory's winless streak extended to six matches after losing 2-0 to Western Sydney Wanderers at nib Stadium.
Mateo Poljak opened the scoring in the 11th minute before substitute Tomi Juric doubled the lead in the 70th minute after being gifted a goal from a horrendous William Gallas mistake.
Attempting to clear the ball from danger, the Glory's international marquee player missed the ball entirely, allowing Juric to coolly dribble around Danny Vukovic and slide the ball into an empty net.
The Glory have failed to score in the first half in their past six matches and their slow start was evident again as they failed to register a shot on target in the first 45 minutes.
Poljak's opening goal was all too easy as he was allowed to turn in the box and score with a left-footed drive after receiving a ball from 21-year-old Kwabena Appiah, who dribbled the ball from the right hand wing without any pressure from the Glory.
Labinot Haliti and Appiah were a constant problem for the Glory as they were able to get in behind the back four of Gallas, Michael Thwaite, Rosh Risdon and Riley Woodcock on a number of occasions.
Steve McGarry and Chris Harold were replaced by Jacob Burns and Darvydas Sernas at half time and the changes made the Glory a lot more competitive in the second half.
Perth's best chance came in the 69th minute when a Rostyn Griffiths header was saved on the line by Jerrad Tyson in the Wanderers goal but all that hard work was undone moments later with Gallas's school boy error.
The result leaves Western Sydney in second spot while Glory could find themselves at the bottom of the ladder if Melbourne Heart are able to improve their goal difference with a positive result against Brisbane Roar on Sunday.