Sydney FC coach Ian Crook was pleased with the performance of his star players after watching the first team squad take part in a 90-minute intra-club match at Allianz Stadium.
After the withdrawal of Central Coast Mariners from a planned pre-season game, Crook put his side through a full match with Alessandro Del Piero, Brett Emerton and Kruno Lovrek starring for the “first XI” in a 5-0 victory.
Del Piero played 70 minutes, setting up two goals for Terry Antonis and Mitch Mallia inside the first 30 minutes, Lovrek smashed home a 20m thunderbolt and Emerton looked lively down the right flank as he took another step towards regaining full match fitness.
“I thought it was a very worthwhile exercise,” Crook said. “It is difficult to replicate the intensity of a friendly against another team but this was the best we could do and the players lifted, which was pleasing.
“It was good for Alessandro, Kruno and Emmo to get 70 minutes under their belts, Adam Griffiths was strong in defence coming back from a knock and we had a chance to play a full game with official referees at a good intensity.
“I was happy with what I saw today and we’ll continue to work hard ahead of the opening game of the season against Wellington.”
In another positive for the Sky Blues, young guns Antonis, Mallia and Joel Chianese all looked strong as the trio all found the back of the net, Antonis bagging a double.
“I was very pleased with the young boys going forward,” Crook said. “While it was nice to get some game time into the legs today it was also about forming combinations and I thought we did that well.
“Alessandro and Kruno linked well with Mitch, Joel, Ali Abbas and Yau at different stages.”
Goalkeeper Mat Ryan, defender Pedj Bojic and midfielder Oliver Bozanic look to have played their last games for Central Coast Mariners as the A-League champion faces a raft of departures.