Stats Review: Why Diamanti’s 46-metre effort is the first of many this season
Alessandro Diamanti skipped past Alex Rufer with a deft flick over the Phoenix midfielder's head after Western United FC, their backs firmly against the wall in the final 10 minutes of Sunday's clash, hacked another clearance away.
The Italian international scampered forward with the fresh, jet-heeled legs of substitute Kwabena Appiah-Kubi preparing to dart in the space beyond retreating Phoenix defenders Luke DeVere and Steven Taylor.
But, having spotted Appiah-Kubi changing the direction of his run at the last, and with the attacker straying ever closer to being offside, Diamanti attempted an ambitious 46-metre lob of Phoenix 'keeper Stefan Marinovic.
That was Diamanti's sixth shot from outside the box of the encounter. Only 120 seconds earlier, the 36-year-old veteran attacker had forced the All Whites number one into a strong save with his fifth shot of the match, from the edge of the penalty area.
All up, Diamanti had more shots from outside the box than any other player on the Hyundai A-League's opening weekend and tallied the same amount of shots as Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory managed in their respective season openers with Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City.
Watch the video at the top of the article as we breakdown Diamanti and Adam le Fondre's league-high shots statistics from Round 1.
Hyundai A-League fans should become used to the sight of Diamanti pulling the trigger if the opportunity arises.
The attacker, who most notably played for Italian clubs Livorno, Brescia and Bologna, as well as a short but action-packed stint with Premier League side West Ham United, is simply a player who needs no invitation to try his luck from distance.
This is captured by his shot map for Serie B outfit Livorno last season. Diamanti took 114 shots in total - averaging out at 3.5 shots per game - and scoring just six goals (excluding penalties).
Le Fondre the poacher
Diamanti's approach is one which guarantees the Italian a long-range stunner two to his name as he adapts to life in Australia and settles at Western United.
But one player who is at the peak of his sharp-shooting prowess after a seamless adjustment is Sydney FC striker Adam Le Fondre.
Like Diamanti, the Englishman took six shots in Round 1. But in direct contrast to the Italian, all of those efforts against Adelaide United came from inside the box.
That opening-night double - a penalty and a poacher's finish to help the Sky Blues to a 3-2 victory - underscored the forward's prowess as one of the competition's best penalty-area operators.
Last season, Le Fondre led the league for shots inside the box (38) and shots total (89), firing off 18 goals in a terrific maiden campaign in the Hyundai A-League.
And he is certainly a good chance to top those categories again this campaign. Certainly, Le Fondre will not have a shortage of ammunition provided by the likes of Kosta Barbarouses, Alexander Baumjohann and Milos Ninkovic.