Soccer: Phoenix go one better than Melbourne

The Wellington Phoenix tonight did what defending A-League champions Melbourne Victory couldn't, when they thrilled home fans by beating crack Argentine soccer side Boca Juniors 2-1.

Boca, who last week beat Melbourne 1-0, failed to spark as expected in the cold and wet conditions at Wellington stadium.

The visitors put some pressure on in the opening minutes, forcing goalkeeper Mark Paston to smother the first shot on goal.

However, the Phoenix opened the scoring when new signing Dylan Macallister latched on to a pinpoint cross from Chris Greenacre in the 24th minute to find the back of the net.

Macallister continued to endear himself to his new home crowd with a solid all-round display, before being replaced by another new face, Roberto Cornejo, shortly into the second half.

Ubiquitous striker Marcelo Canete, who scored against Melbourne, was the Boca danger man once again, but his team was unable to mount enough consistent attacks.

Captain Andrew Durante stretched the Phoenix lead in the 60th minute when he headed home a free kick from midfielder Daniel.

Boca's only reply was most fortuitous, as instead of a routine clearance, Durante flicked an own goal past the surprised Paston in the 82nd minute.

The win kept alive the Phoenix's stunning unbeaten streak at Wellington Stadium. They were last beaten there in November 2008.

Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert said he was more than satisfied with the team's performance.

"That was a pretty big scalp to take," he said afterwards.

Going up against such a high calibre team gave a good measure of where the Phoenix were going into the new A-League season.

Durante said he was pleased to get among the goals, but not quite so happy to feature on both sides of the score sheet.

"My feet got a bit tangled... it was a little bit freaky," he said.

Durante was particularly pleased to continue the team's unbeaten streak at home.

"I don't know who's going to come here and knock us off."

The game was well-contested throughout, with Boca captain Christian Cellay ordered off in the 73rd minute after receiving his second yellow card.

The game was the Phoenix's last preseason match before they face Gold Coast United in their A-League opener on August 13.

- NZPA

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