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Beckham puts on winning show in Welly

Last updated 00:00 01/01/2009
THANK YOU: LA Galaxy captain David Beckham salutes the record crowd at Wellington's Westpac Stadium after leading his side to a 4-1 win over the Phoenix.
ONE TO REMEMBER: Wellington Phoenix captain Ross Aloisi opened the scoring in the exhibition match to the annoyance of David Beckham.
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DRESSED FOR SUCCESS: David Beckham supporters lined the stands at Westpac Stadium.
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FIRED UP: LA Galaxy's David Beckham (L) talks to referee Mike Hester during the friendly soccer match between LA Galaxy and Wellington Phoenix.
FOCUSSED: LA Galaxy's captain David Beckham (C) leads his team out onto the field for the friendly soccer match against the Wellington Phoenix in Wellington.

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There were no dazzling free kicks, but David Beckham did score from the penalty spot as the LA Galaxy beat the Wellington Phoenix 4-1 in an exhibition football match at Westpac Stadium on Saturday night. 
Slideshow: Galaxy training session  ... BeckhamWatch ... View videos

Beckham was the provider of the Galaxy's first goal, launching a pin-point 50m pass that set up striker Clint Mathis to score in the 16th minute, and topped off the scoring with a 77th minute penalty after striker Carlos Pavon was brought in the box by defender Steven Old.

Beckham, who played all 90 minutes, showed the odd bit of class as the match progressed with some deft touches and masterful long-range passing as the Galaxy won in a canter.

After Phoenix skipper Ross Aloisi had set the 31,853-strong crowd, eclipsing the 1981 All Whites-Kuwait World Cup qualifier as a record for any football match in New Zealand, alight with an eighth minute strike from close range, the Galaxy took over dominance of the match.

Mathis' equaliser and a second goal just before halftime, to star forward Landon Donovan, who took full advantage of some keystone cops defending after Karl Dodd and Kristian Rees tackled each other, gave the Major League Soccer team a 2-1 halftime lead.

They made it 3-1 early in the second half, an incisive but rare midfield run by Beckham ending in a simple tap-in by Pavon, with the Phoenix's wafer thin back three opened up yet again, before Beckham brought the house down with his penalty, which never looked like missing.

There was some niggle in the first half, with the players clashing several times and Beckham - much to the crowd's pleasure - blew up at referee Michael Hester after being adjudged to have fouled Felipe in the 19th minute.

Both teams made several changes in the second half and the match opened up, but the Phoenix, backing up from Friday night's 2-1 A-League loss to Adelaide United, were true to recent form and couldn't find the back of the net.

Their poor form in front of goal was summed up by bench player Royce Brownlie failing to hit the target from six yards with the goal wide open.

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- The Dominion Post

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