Calem Nieuwenhof and Luke Brattan scored superb long-range goals as defending A-League champions Sydney FC started their campaign with a 2-1 win over Wellington Phoenix.
A-League debutant Nieuwenhof slammed a brilliant strike into the top left-hand corner to put last season’s premiers ahead in the 29th minute at WIN Stadium on Friday.
Mirza Muratovic – a close-season signing from Brisbane Roar – got off the mark for Wellington to level the scores on the stroke of half-time.
Another Sydney thunderbolt settled the contest, however, with Nieuwenhof’s midfield partner Brattan picking out the top-right corner with a venomous free-kick.
— A-League (@ALeague) January 2, 2021
Ulises Davila thought he had snatched a point for Wellington in stoppage time, only for his effort to have diverted in off Tomer Hemed, who was flagged offside.
In Friday’s other game, Brisbane bounced back from their opening defeat to Melbourne City by overcoming Melbourne Victory 3-1.
Callum McManaman curled in a delightful finish on his debut to draw Melbourne level after Scott McDonald’s opener, but Macaulay Gillesphey’s header put Brisbane back ahead on the hour.
With Melbourne pushing for another equaliser – McManaman going close – Dylan Wenzel-Halls broke onto a long ball and, after twisting his way clear of his marker, slotted home to seal the points.
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