Sydney FC lost the opening game of its six-match tour of Italy with a 3-2 loss to Pandova FC, the club where Alessandro Del Piero began his professional career.
Daniole Vantaggito opened the scoring for the Serie B side in the fifth minute. The shock of going behind got Sydney to play some fluid football that was rewarded in the 12th minute when a left-foot volley from Brett Emerton went home.
Sydney’s equaliser was cancelled out soon after when Vantaggito got his second goal off a corner. Both sides had chances before half time but the scoreline stayed 2-1.
The second half saw Sydney continue to attack with pace and looking likely to score again as Corey Gameiro, Rhyan Grant and Vedran Niksic all went close. But it was Pandova who scored first, when Enaj Jelenic finished a slick play to make it 3-1 in the 81st minute.
A free-kick sent in by Peter Triantis was goalbound until a Padova defender handled the ball. Nick Carle stepped up to convert the penalty in the 84th minute. Coach Frank Farina will find encouragement in the good performance, which gives him something to work on it when Sydney plays Serie A side Udinese tomorrow night.
In other A-League related news, Melbourne Victory have signed Kosta Barbarouses on a three-year deal. The 23-year-old winger from New Zealand has played 51 A-League games: 21 for Wellington Phoenix and 30 for Brisbane Roar. – Blake Moretti
Top photo of Alessandro del Piero presenting his jersey to Pandova – his first professional club – after the match from Sydney FC’s Facebook fan page.