New coach Frank Farina got a glimpse of the job ahead as Sydney FC were held to a scoreless draw with Melbourne Heart in Sunday's bottom-of-the-table A-League clash
|By JOHN GRECO
The appointment of Frank Farina has had a positive effect on Sydney FC as they snapped a four-game losing streak with a hard-earned 0-0 draw with Melbourne Heart on Sunday.
While the new Sky Blues boss watched from the stands at Allianz Stadium, his troops showed there is still plenty of fight in their ranks and they created most of the chances in an otherwise dour contest.
But they couldn't find the crucial goal and victory to get their season off the ground and they remain bottom of the A-League ladder, two points behind the ninth-placed Heart.
In a worrying sign for the Sky Blues, marquee man Alessandro Del Piero failed to finish the game, forced off midway through the second half with a reoccurrence of his hamstring injury.
Farina will be sweating on the fitness of the Italian superstar when he officially takes his first training session on Monday.
At least the former Socceroos boss will be buoyed by the fact Sky Blues have stopped their run of losses and kept just their third clean sheet in 27 games.
Caretaker Sydney coach Steve Corica gave 25-year-old goal-keeper Vedran Janjetovic his A-League debut at the expense of Ivan Necevski and the youngster was almost called into action on seven minutes.
The Heart's David Williams worked a metre of space down the left and played in a teasing cross which picked out Josip Tadic but the striker somehow miscued his shot over the bar.
That was as good as it got for the visitors in the first half as Sydney created the better chances.
Joel Chianese, making his first start in almost two months, and Yairo Yau both wasted good opportunities in quick succession after being set up by Fabio.
Sydney were getting plenty of joy down their flanks and right-back Rhyan Grant went close to opening the scoring just before the break.
Grant started a move that included Del Piero and Chianese before the ball landed at the feet of the defender who could only blaze over from just inside the box.
Farina was very vocal in the Sky Blues change rooms at half-time and it seemed to have the desired effect as the home side continued to muster the best chances.
Heart keeper Clint Bolton had to be alert to palm away Del Piero's free-kick while the visitors had left-back Samuel Mitchinson to thank for denying Chianese a tap-in after another good cross from the veteran Italian.
John Aloisi's side were still dangerous on the counter-attack and only an acrobatic save from Janjetovic stopped Fred's header from opening the scoring 12 minutes after the break.
But Sydney were making most of the play and should have gone in front 10 minutes later.
Del Piero tried his luck from a free-kick 35 metres out which Bolton spilled, but the former Sky Blues shot-stopper made amends by smothering Chianese's attempt on the rebound.
It was as close as either side came as the league's bottom two sides had to be content with a scoreless draw.