Western Sydney Wanderers have kickstarted their A-League season with a clinical 3-0 victory over a lacklustre Wellington Phoenix in wet, windy weather at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.
Minus coach Markus Babbel after being suspended for his Sydney derby conduct, the Wanderers put in the perfect away performance - going a goal ahead early through talented playmaker Alexander Baumjohann, before a Oriol Riera penalty just after the second half restart made things comfortable.
Former Adelaide United midfielder Jordan O'Doherty capped off a magnificent starting debut with the sealing goal on the counter attack in stoppage time.
Both teams made several surprise changes to their starting line up with the Phoenix dropping young talent Sarpreet Singh and journeyman striker David Williams, handing Mitch Nichols his first start for the club, while the Wanderers preferred O'Doherty and Bruce Kamau to Rashid Mahazi and Jaushua Sotirio.
It was the Wanderers who made the better start and nearly went ahead early through ex Wellington midfielder Roly Bonevacia, while Baumjohann should have secured the lead but fluffed the opportunity in the six-yard box.
The same player made no mistake on 11 minutes, smashing Kamau's side footed pass into the roof of the net after a wonderful through ball from Bonevacia.
Wellington huffed and puffed but failed to create clear cut chances in the first half - their best opportunity to score coming from a Roy Krishna penalty appeal that was rightly waved away by referee Jarred Gillett.
A handball on O'Doherty's long range shot from Phoenix captain Andrew Durante, celebrating his 250th game for the club, allowed Riera to make the Wanderers advantage comfortable from the spot in the 55th minute.
Western Sydney looked comfortable throughout the second half before a mad finish in stoppage time score the woodwork struck twice and the final goal for the away team..
Socceroo right back Josh Risdon hit the post with a curling shot that had Wellington keeper Filip Kurto well beaten while Nathan Burns headed on to the bar from a corner for the home side.
With the Phoenix stretching for an unlikely result, the Wanderers swept the ball into attack on counter with O'Doherty finishing smartly while one-on-one with the goalkeeper to cap off a great night for the Wanderers.