A first-half injury to Alessandro Del Piero compounded Sydney FC's woes as they went down 4-0 to Brisbane Roar on Saturday night.
A first-half injury to Alessandro Del Piero compounded Sydney FC's woes as they went down 4-0 to Brisbane Roar on Saturday night, but coach Frank Farina refused use the loss of his talismanic captain as an excuse for the heavy defeat.
Scores were locked at nil-all when a calf strain curtailed the Italian's night 32 minutes into the game, and Brisbane had piled on three goals before the whistle was blown to end the first half.
Sydney had conceded possession to the Roar in the opening stages, but maintained a tight defensive system which saw the hosts struggle to create many clear chances.
When Brisbane lost their own star striker in Besart Berisha to a hamstring tweak shortly before Del Piero's injury, their chances of breaking through the Sky Blues' two lines of four appeared to take a further blow.
It was a set piece which eventually saw them break the deadlock, however, as Matt Smith timed his leap well to head home a lovely Thomas Broich ball into the area.
Conceding this first goal was the killer blow for Sydney, according to Farina, whose side went on to ship two more in the next seven minutes, with Henrique bundling the ball over the line from close range after a corner was taken short, and Jade North finishing well after Nicky Carle had given away possession to Matt McKay in midfield.
"We were frustrating them I think," Farina said.
"And then the two set pieces, and after that there was only one team.
"I was disappointed with our performance, especially after last week, but as I said to the players, we've got the derby next week so we've got to get ready for that."
The full extent of Del Piero's knock would be known in the coming days, said Farina, though the coach was doubtful the former Juventus man would be ready to face the Western Sydney Wanderers next week.
"I think he'll be doubtful for next week," he said.
"He hurt his calf, but we'll see. I don't really know, they said they'll have some scans tomorrow so we'll wait and see the outcome of that.
"He just felt something in his calf and he couldn't go on."
The subsequent loss of composure in defence, however, could not be blamed on the loss of Del Piero, according to Farina.
"No I don't think so, we've got a lot of experience there and that would be pretty sad if that was the case.
"He's an important player for us, but we've seen many other teams that... it's just we were beaten by a very good side tonight."