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: Diamanti’s impressive highlights reel against the Phoenix
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).
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
United’s first home in the A-League is Saturday, October 19 against reigning Premiers Perth Glory at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong.
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