Del Piero sets Juve scoring record

Alessandro Del Piero hit a hat-trick to become Juventus's all-time top scorer as the Turin side crushed Fiorentina 4-1 to ease into the Italian Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old striker took his tally to 185 in all competitions, surpassing the previous record of 182 he held jointly with Giampiero Boniperti, whose tally came between 1947 and 1961.

It was Boniperti, then president of the club, who brought Del Piero to Juventus from Serie B side Padova in 1993.

Del Piero has struck 127 times in the Italian championship with the rest of his goals coming in domestic and international cup competitions.

"We played a fantastic match tonight, especially in the first half. Del Piero is in great form, as are many of our players," said coach Fabio Capello after Juve's 6-3 win on aggregate.

Juve stamped their authority on the tie with three goals in the opening 21 minutes.

Del Piero swept home a low cross from close range and grabbed his second with a curling free kick. He also played a part in Juve's third, firing Pavel Nedved's cross at keeper Sebastian Frey, whose block dropped kindly into the path of Adrian Mutu to score.

Del Piero completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot 12 minutes into the second half.

Under coach Marcello Lippi, Del Piero became a key player during one of the most successful periods in the club's history, winning Serie A titles in 1995, 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2003, as well as the Champions League in 1996.

Del Piero has spent an increasing amount of time on the bench since Capello took over from Lippi at the start of last season, but still scored 14 goals to help Juventus to the 2005 Serie A title.

He has maintained his strike rate this season, hitting the target nine times in 20 appearances in all competitions to challenge for a place in Italy's squad for this year's World Cup finals in Germany.

Juventus were joined in the quarter-finals by Palermo, who edged out Serie B side Bari 5-4 in an earlier match.

Source: China Daily

People's Daily Online ---