Perth kept their finals hopes alive thanks to goals from Chris Harold and Shane Smeltz, while Alessandro Del Piero scored a stunner for Sydney FC
|By BEN CAMERON
Alessandro Del Piero scored a 30-yard wonder strike, but it was not enough as a 10-man Sydney FC suffered a 2-1 loss to Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Saturday night.
The result lifted Perth to within one win of the sixth-placed Brisbane Roar (28 points), but still in ninth behind Melbourne Heart and Sydney, who are both on 27 points.
Perth took the lead after 19 minutes when Liam Miller made a run through the middle of the Sydney defence and then laid the ball off to Chris Harold, who blasted it past Vedran Janjetovic into the top corner.
But just nine minutes later the Glory defence failed to close down Del Piero just beyond the box and Sydney's marquee man unleashed a swerving strike that gave nestled into the top corner.
It was the former Juventus star's 12th goal of this A-League campaign.
Perth regained the lead in the 34th-minute through Kiwi international Shane Smeltz when he side-footed home a Scott Jamieson cross.
Sydney were reduced to 10-men in the 56th minute when Fabio brought down Smeltz after an earlier foul on Liam Miller.
Del Piero attempted to recreate his strike in the second half as Sydney went in search of an equaliser and had Vukovic scrambling with a couple of long-range free kicks, but both went wide of the target.
The Sky Blues looked to their bench for an equaliser and substitute Terry Antonis almost delivered with a well-struck strike that forced a strong double-handed save out of Daniel Vukovic.
Two first-half Vukovic saves had earlier helped Perth keep the game scoreless before Harold's strike.
First the Perth shot-stopper denied Socceroos captain Lucas Neill with a full-length diving save before he raced off his line to close down Joel Griffiths after he got in behind the Perth defence.
Liam Miller had Perth's first chance of the match shortly after when he cut in from the right, but had his shot from the tight angle comfortably saved by Janjetovic.
Del Piero nearly replicated his earlier goal when he attempted another left-footed strike, but it was just wide of the mark.
Ryo Nagai tried his luck from distance and forced a good save out of Janjetovic with a long-range strike just before the break.
Perth manager Alistair Edwards unleashed 15-year-old Daniel De Silva after 62 minutes, which made him the second youngest player in competition history.