Harry, Alessan­dro the heart and soul of clash

Sunday Territorian - - SPORT -

IT will be when Harry met Alessan­dro.

Mar­quee men Alessan­dro Del Piero and Harry Kewell are set to go head to head for the first time when Syd­ney FC host Mel­bourne Heart at Al­lianz Sta­dium today.

Three times be­fore in­juries have kept Kewell out of such a showdown.

First when Ju­ven­tus played Liver­pool in the quar­ter- fi­nals of the 2005 UEFA Champions League, then a year later when Italy knocked Aus­tralia out of the World Cup in Ger­many and most re­cently in the A- League when the Heart lost to Syd­ney in round six.

But the stars look to have fi­nally aligned with both vet­er­ans likely to start.

Del Piero, 39, is back af­ter miss­ing last week’s loss to Cen­tral Coast with a ham­string strain while Kewell made his long-awaited come­back from in­jury in the Heart’s draw with Western Syd­ney last week, com­ing on as a late sub­sti­tute.

Heart coach John Aloisi has con­firmed 35- year- old Kewell will play more than the 18 min­utes he man­aged against the Wan­der­ers and Del Piero has said he’s con­fi­dent he’ll be fit to play.

Sky Blues mid­fielder and for­mer Heart player Matthew Thomp­son says to wit­ness the first clash be­tween the vet­eran duo will be huge.

‘‘It will be mas­sive,’’ he said. ‘‘ To see all the fans come out to watch Alessan­dro it’s so great for this club be­cause he’s a le­gend of the game and they’ll also get to see him take on ar­guably Aus­tralia’s best in Harry.’’

The last-placed Heart come into the clash still search­ing for their maiden win this sea­son but are re­ju­ve­nated af­ter back­ing up their dramatic 3-3 draw against Ade­laide with an im­pres­sive 1-1 re­sult against reign­ing pre­miers the Wan­der­ers.

Syd­ney mean­while ended their club record four-game win­ning streak with a 1-0 loss to de­fend­ing champions the Mariners last week.

But Thomp­son says they have no in­ten­tion of hand­ing the Heart their first vic­tory.

‘‘With Heart still not win­ning any games you def­i­nitely don’t want to be the team they break that streak against,’’ he said.

Pic­ture: GREGG POR­TE­OUS

Mel­bourne Heart star Harry Kewell and prized Syd­ney FC re­cruit Alessan­dro Del Piero, who are the cap­tains of their re­spec­tive teams, will square off for the first time in the A-League in today’s clash at Al­lianz Sta­dium

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