SYDNEY (AP) — Sydney FC and Melbourne Heart played to a scoreless draw in the A-League on Sunday, extending the Alessandro Del Piero-led team's winless streak to five matches and leaving Sydney in last place in the Australian competition.
New coach Frank Farina watched from the stands, allowing interim coach Steve Corica to maintain control of the club on the field in an attempt to end its four-match losing streak.
Earlier this week, Del Piero said he had never lost even three matches in a row during his 19-year career with Serie A powerhouse Juventus, and felt Sydney would turn around the season soon.
Del Piero, who was substituted in the 70th minute after tweaking his troublesome right hamstring, will be sent for scans on Tuesday.
"I think it's more tight, cramping sort of, in the hamstring so we'll have to wait and see from Tuesday onwards, see how the MRI looks and go from there," Corica said.
In the other Sunday match, Jeremy Brockie's goal in the 22nd minute gave the Wellington Phoenix a 1-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers.
In earlier ninth-round play, Central Coast's Nick Montgomery scored the winner with 14 minutes remaining to allow the Mariners to take over first place with a 2-1 win over Adelaide United. It was the Mariners' fourth consecutive home win.
Adelaide had led 1-0 from Bruce Djite's goal before Josh Rose blasted a left-foot shot past rookie Reds goalkeeper Paul Izzo just before halftime.
Mariners coach Graham Arnold paid credit to his side's comeback abilities for the win which moved the Mariners a point ahead of Adelaide, with the Victory four points behind.
"You go down 1-0 against the run of play in tough conditions, against an in-form side, and come away with the win — that just shows the character of the side," he said.
Izzo, rated by observers among the best young goalkeepers Australia has produced, was forced to save three Mariners shots in the first 15 minutes. He repelled Michael McGlinchey's strike in the fourth minute and then efforts from Daniel McBreen in the 12th and 15th minutes.
Brisbane striker Besart Berisha's penalty in the 41st minute gave the Roar a 1-0 win over Newcastle, while third-place Melbourne Victory beat Perth Glory 1-0 from a 58th-minute goal by New Zealand winger Marco Rojas.
Referee Brenton Hayward was booed off the pitch at halftime minutes after showing Brisbane star Thomas Broich and Jets central defender Josh Mitchell red cards.
Mitchell, who had already picked up a yellow card, collided with Broich as they competed for a ball. Broich jumped to his feet to confront Mitchell as players from both sides raced from all parts of the ground to join in the 43rd-minute altercation.
Perth coach Ian Ferguson praised his side despite losing to the Victory, the Melbourne side's fourth win along with a draw in its past five matches.
Ferguson said his side was hit hard by the late withdrawal of Liam Miller (back tightness), adding to the absences of Michael Thwaite, Scott Jamieson (both with the Socceroos) and Jacob Burns (suspension).
"I can't fault any of the players today, their effort was tremendous for the club and themselves," Ferguson said.