ACE: Alessandro Del Piero. ACE: Alessandro Del Piero.
IT was straight from the treasure trove of great goals by Alessandro Del Piero and announced the Italian maestro’s arrival at Sydney FC to the world.
Dutch import Kew Jaliens smiled yesterday when asked if he had seen footage of the sublime 30-metre free kick which left Jets’ keeper Ben Kennedy clutching at air before nestling in the top-left corner.
“For sure, I saw it,” Jaliens said.
“Free kicks are his great quality.”
Despite the wonder strike, the Jets went on to win the round-two clash at Allianz Stadium last season 3-2, thanks in part to a goal by their own superstar Emile Heskey.
But the talking point was undoubtedly the first of Del Piero’s first 14 goals for the campaign.
The Jets meet Sydney FC in the A-League opening blockbuster at Allianz Stadium on Friday night.
Jaliens, a former international, has been recruited to correct a defence which leaked 45 goals.
“If you give away stupid fouls, he is the one who can punish you,” Jaliens said.
“It is up to us not to give away stupid free kicks.”
Jaliens was just as matter-of-fact on how to limit Del Piero’s influence in general play.
“He is a player you must mark very close and be rough on him so he doesn’t have a good day,” Jaliens said. “That is what we want to do.
“The further you get him away from goal, the better.”
Mark Birighitti, who inked a new two-year deal on Friday, was suspended for the round two clash last season.
Like Jaliens, he believed prevention was better than a cure when it came to free kicks and Del Piero.
“He is a class act and I will have to be on my toes to stop his shots,” the keeper said.
“The main thing is discipline. We don’t want to give stupid fouls in and around the box.
“Having Kew there is a massive boost. His experience leading the younger boys will definitely be beneficial.”
Coach Gary van Egmond is yet to name his squad for the opener.
Michael Bridges is still struggling with groin soreness and did not train with the main group yesterday.
Connor Chapman has partnered Jaliens in the final three trials against A-League opposition and is expected to get the nod again.
“I have been training well, and hopefully I do slot in there,” said Chapman who played from the A-League All-Stars against Manchester United and went to the under-20 World Cup in the off-season.
“Having had more experience in big games will make this week easier.
“Kew has been great.
“For me, being able to pick his brain is quality and something I really value.”