Sydney FC have lost their first official game of the Hyundai A-League season despite an impressive performance from Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero, going down 2-0 on Saturday (October 6).
Taking on the Wellington Phoenix away from home and short on match practice was always going to be a big ask, but the result will still be a disappointing one for Sydney fans.
Wellington were the better side for much of the first half but were unable to find the net, until Belgian import Stein Huysegems opened the scoring for the home team minutes before the break.
Sydney would have gone into the second half hopeful of equalising but seemed unable to penetrate the Phoenix's defensive line.
All eyes were on the veteran import Del Piero and the 37-year-old former Juventus FC superstar didn't disappoint, showing off some impressive footwork throughout and setting up several scoring opportunities.
However he found little support from his teammates, and so it was that Wellington teenager Louis Fenton scored the next goal, heading home a cross from Manny Muscat in the 75th minute.
Sydney will now hope to turn in a better performance in their first home game of the season this weekend, when they take on the Newcastle Jets on Saturday (October 13).
In other first round news, the Melbourne Heart have started their campaign in style with a 1-2 win against the Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium.
The Victory were the more aggressive side for much of the match but missed out on several promising scoring opportunities, and conceded the opening goal in the 14th minute to 24-year-old David Williams.
Marco Rojas equalised for the Victory ten minutes later, but a counter attacking goal from Dylan Macallister just before the half time whistle gave the Heart their second and eventually proved to be the difference maker.
Meanwhile the Western Sydney Wanderers battled to a tough 0-0 draw against last year's champions the Central Coast Mariners FC in rainy conditions at Parramatta Stadium.
The Perth Glory defeated the Brisbane Roar 1-0 at home after a late header from Billy Mehmet gave them the winning goal, while the Newcastle Jets went down 0-2 to Adelaide United after goals from Dario Vidosic and Iain Ramsay.