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Kewell, Del Piero set for first showdown
By Angela Habashy
09:33 AEST Sat Dec 14 2013

It will be when Harry met Alessandro.

Marquee men Harry Kewell and Alessandro Del Piero are set to go head to head for the first time when Sydney FC host Melbourne Heart at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

Three times before injuries have kept Kewell out of such a showdown.

First when Juventus played Liverpool in the quarter-finals of the 2005 UEFA Champions League, then a year later when Italy knocked Australia out of the World Cup in Germany and most recently when the Heart lost to Sydney in round six of the A-League last month.

But the stars look to have finally aligned with both wounded veterans likely to start.

Del Piero, 39, is back after missing last week's loss to Central Coast with a hamstring strain while Kewell made his long-awaited comeback from injury in the Heart's draw with Western Sydney last week, coming on as a late substitute.

Heart coach John Aloisi has confirmed 35-year-old Kewell will play more than the 18 minutes he managed against the Wanderers and Del Piero has said he's confident he'll be fit to play.

Sky Blues midfielder and former Heart player Matthew Thompson says to witness the first clash between the veteran duo will be huge.

"It will be massive," he told AAP on Saturday.

"To see all the fans come out to watch Alessandro it's so great for this club because he's a legend of the game and they'll also get to see him take on arguably Australia's best in Harry.

"So to have those two players out there will be amazing and there'll be 20 others on the pitch who can't believe what they're seeing."

The last-placed Heart come into the clash still searching for their maiden win this season but are rejuvenated after backing up their dramatic 3-3 draw against Adelaide with an impressive 1-1 result against reigning premiers the Wanderers.

Sydney meanwhile ended their club record four-game winning streak with a 1-0 loss to defending champions the Mariners last week.

Thompson says they've been fine-tuning their game plan and have no intention of handing the Heart their first victory.

"With Heart still not winning any games you definitely don't want to be the team they break that streak against," he said.

"We were disappointing last week... the basics went wrong.

"Literally just passing the ball was all over the place.

"We've been limiting all those mistakes which is what gave us four wins on the trot but last week they just all came out in the one game.

"But we're fixing that this week and we'll definitely be on our game."

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