24 Sep 2011

Kewell makes solid debut for Victory

1:32 pm on 24 September 2011

Human headline Harry Kewell was taunted by the enemy crowd as a waste of money, but his A-League football debut showed he'll be priceless for Melbourne Victory and the competition.

Kewell showed glimpses of class in his first outing for the Victory in a trial match against Adelaide United on Friday night.

Adelaide led 1-0 at half-time courtesy of an Andy Slory strike, but Kewell's presence attracted an unprecedented practice game crowd of 9543 at Hindmarsh Stadium in the South Australian capital.

The glamour recruit played the initial 45 minutes as an attacking midfielder and was sharp and calculating in Melbourne's garish fluorescent green away strip.

Kewell's creative left foot presented striker Archie Thompson with a golden scoring chance in the 14th minute, but his precise 20-metre cross was fluffed by the Victory striker's headed attempt.

Two minutes later, a Kewell side-boot shot dribbled to Reds 'keeper Eugene Galekovic, prompting the parochial Adelaide crowd to chant "what a waste of money".

But Kewell silenced the crowd a minute later with a shrewd through ball which proved too a tad too heavy for Thompson to latch.

Within another 60 seconds, Kewell again delivered a crafty through ball to Thompson only for the Victory attacker to be ruled offside as he closed on goal.

The Adelaide crowd resumed their wasted money chant when Kewell gave away a free kick for a physical challenge 35 minutes in.

But Melbourne's marquee signing drew instinctive gasps of approval from spectators in the 43rd minute with a classy controlled collection of a knee-high ball.

Kewell, who turned 33 on Thursday, followed the precocious possession with a back heel pass which again fed Thompson, who delivered to Tomislav Pondeljak who sent a shot wide.

Kewell was substituted at halftime but his display would have comforted Victory officials that his signing was money well spent, regardless of the opposition crowd's teasing.