The Newcastle Jets were defeated 2-0 by Sydney FC at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night.
The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets were defeated 2-0 by Sydney FC at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night.
After a cagey opening 15 minutes, which saw both sides easing their way into the contest, it was the Jets who created the first clear-cut opportunity of the match.
Adam Taggart played a neat through-ball for Craig Goodwin, who in turn played a low cross across the face of goal towards Emile Heskey.
However, the ball evaded the outstretched foot of the former England international and the Sky Blues were able to clear their lines.
Less than a minute later, the Jets were on the attack again, with Josh Brillante swinging in a cross from the right wing which picked out Taggart, only for his glancing header to skip just wide of the target.
After scoring a stunning goal against Perth Glory a week earlier, Sydney midfielder Terry Antonis attempted a replica of that that strike in the 21st minute.
The Young Socceroo carried the ball forward from midfield and attempted to curl a shot from 25 metres out towards the far post, but his effort was high and wide of the mark.
The Jets responded through James Virgili just two minutes late, with the pacey winger driving a powerful shot from the edge of the box with his right boot that whistled past the post of Sky Blues shot-stopper Vedran Janjetovic.
Sydney FC had their best chance of the first half in the 29th minute, with Alessandro Del Piero stripping Ruben Zadkovich near halfway, before carrying the ball forward and playing in Ranko Depsotovic.
However, Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti did a fantastic job of making himself big and denied the Serbian striker with a sharp reflex save.
Birighitti was forced into action again in the 36th minute, with Sasa Ognenovski heading the ball straight into the shot-stopper-s hands following a Del Piero free-kick.
Four minutes later, Sam Gallaway went on a promising foray forward from the left back position before chipping a shot towards goal that Janjetovic was able to cover, ensuring the two sides went to the half-time break on level terms.
The Jets fashioned their best scoring opportunity of the match six minutes after the interval with a neat one-two between Adam Taggart and Ruben Zadkovich creating space for Zadkovich on the edge of the box.
The Jets captain struck a stinging low drive with his right boot that forced a sharp save from Janjetovic.
Five minutes later, Gallaway played a cross from the left flank that landed on the top of Janjetovic-s crossbar, although the Sky Blues shot-stopper appeared to have the ball covered in any case.
The visitors took the lead on the hour mark when their marquee man, Del Piero delivered a pin-point corner that was met with a powerful header by Ognenovski, with the ball hitting the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net.
Sydney doubled their advantage just over 10 minutes later, when they were awarded a penalty after Taylor Regan was adjudged to have tripped up Del Piero in the box.
The Italian maestro stepped up to the spot and sent Birighitti the wrong way as he slotted the penalty into the bottom corner of the net to make it 2-0.
The Jets went close to getting a goal back in the 85th minute when a nice interchange of play between second-half substitute David Carney and Taggart ended with Taggart firing off a left-footed shot that brought another save from Janjetovic.
Newcastle continued to push forward in search of a goal in the final stages, with Taggart heading a Hoole corner over the crossbar in stoppage time as the Jets were resigned to their third 2-0 loss to Sydney this season.
Newcastle Jets 0 Sydney FC 2 (Ognenovski 60-, Del Piero 73-)