The 3-1 score-line didn?t reflect the match, both sides having had their chances to run-away with the result, Palermo taking the match with a fighting second-half performance.
As early as the 1st minute, Sydney Tigers found themselves on the back-foot, goal-keeper Michael Rutherford screaming off his line to stop winger Paolo Carbonaro who was through on goal. The tricky attacker cleverly beat Rutherford only for the Aussie keeper to cut him down for a penalty.
Carbonaro stepped up to take the penalty himself, denied by a brilliant save by Rutherford who had to make a double save from Francesco Pitarresi?s follow up.
Palermo did take the upper-hand just five minutes later, Carbonaro atoning for his penalty miss, lobbing the ball over Rutherford from 18 yards when clear through on goal.
Sydney Tigers could have easily lied down, but credit to the Australians for clawing their way back into the match with an equaliser in the 8th minute of the match.
A Jason Trifiro free-kick wasn?t cleared by the Italians, Costa Andricopoulos sending the ball back into the penalty area towards giant midfielder Sasa Macura. Macura?s neat flick on went back into the path of Trifiro who?s run beat hesitant goal-keeper Ingrasia, side footing the ball past the Palermo custodian.
One- all and with the game evenly poised, both sides created a few chances. Pitarresi and Carbonaro, having the best chances for Palermo, but Rutherford was not in the mood to go down without a fight, denying both Palermo attackers numerous times with his defence cleverly beaten by deep runs from the midfield areas.
Tom Taylor had Sydney Tigers?s most guilt-edged chances late in the first stanza, firstly hitting a half volley at Ingrassia, then hitting the outside of the post after a brilliant pivot past two defenders.
Sydney Tigers started the second period in brilliant fashion and almost took the lead just three minutes after the re-start.
A corner from the right was again not dealt with by the Italian defence. Daniel Ramirez letting fly from 25 yards only to see his effort crash against the cross-bar. The ball fell back into play for Taylor whose neat ball inside fell invitingly for goal hero Trifiro. The diminutive midfielder couldn?t get enough purchase on the strike metres from goal, shooting just wide of the upright.
At this stage it could easily have been 3-1 in favour for Sydney Tigers, so when Palermo nearly scored after stealing 20 metres from a dead-ball situation, a frustrated Sydney Tigers coach Barry Walker felt the need to protest.
After few discussions with his assistant, referee Davide Giorlando decided to harshly send Walker to the stands in the 55th minute.
The Aussies refused to lie down though, fighting and challenging for every ball. Palermo were beginning to become frustrated and made a host of changes which swung the momentum back in their favour.
They breached Sydney Tigers?s line in the 66th minute when a header from a well rehearsed set-piece was juggled on the line by Rutherford, making a tremendous save to keep the initial chance out. Carbonaro, a constant thorn for the Aussies made no mistake, blasting home from barely a yard out to send the Palermo travelling supporters into raptures.
Sydney Tigers had claims for a penalty in the 75th minute, defender Alberto Cossentino, who had started in Serie A in recent weeks, blatantly handling the ball in the box, again referee Giorlando waived play-on, bemusing the Sydney Tigers contingent.
Palermo got their third and final goal with ten minutes remaining; it was the man of the moment Carbonaro making in-roads. The winger cut in from the right hand-side facing only Rutherford, his cut-back for the on-rushing Pitaressi, who had also had a great match, put the game beyond doubt with an easy slide-rule strike.
DAY 10 (9th of February): Opening Tournament match vs Palermo
Sydney Tigers: Rutherford; Sahin, Andricopoulos (mcconaghy 65), ramirez, maruzza(c); collard, trifiro, oliveira (campo 82), macura (pagnozzi 70); taylor; mcgrouther
Substitutes: baloglow, varnier, kose, costantini
Coach: Barry Walker
Palermo: Ingrassia (c); mazzotta (corsino 60), Davi, Romeo, Adamo; Temperino (conti 60), Giovio, Misuraca, Pitarresi; Carbonaro (pergolizzi 79), Cossentino
Substitutes: MARZIANI, SIRAGUSA, SABATUCCI, CAPPELLETTI, CARIOTO, TESTA
Coach: Salvatore Lipari
Goals: Carbonaro x2, Pitarresi