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Wellington Phoenix 3 Sydney FC 0

The Phoenix made a lot of friends on Sunday afternoon with a confident display against an out of sorts Sydney side. Rarely troubled at the back, showing good enterprise and pace going forward, and superbly marshalled by the experienced Ross Aloisi in central midfield, the Phoenix looked better than both the Rufer-era Kingz and the woeful Knights put together.

The official attendance was just over 6,000 (which is sensational for a pre-season match) and the organisers sensibly stuck us all on one side of the ground to help harness the atmosphere. The official site has yet to be updated with the result and Stuff don’t have a match report so I’ll tell you that there were two goals for Shane Smeltz plus an own goal from an unknown Sydney player.

The Brazilian number 4 Cleberson is going to be a definite crowd favourite – he’s a big lump of a bloke and he totally bossed the central defence, winning everything in the air – and compatriot Cortes looked pretty lively down the right wing.

Phoenix match tickets go on sale on August 13 and I’d recommend getting into them early, particularly as more than half the games are kid-friendly Sunday afternoon affairs and it won’t stay this cold forever.