A blistering start promised so much more as Adelaide United and Wellington Phoenix ground out a 1-1 draw in their opening A-League encounter in New Zealand.
The action matched the temperature on a frigid Sunday afternoon in Wellington as the visitors failed to turn their superior chances in front of goal into more.
The Phoenix didn't score in their opening three matches last season but it took just five minutes for a
new-look side to open their account at Westpac Stadium.
Former Socceroo Dario Vidosic latched onto a delicious cross from Roy Krishna from the right side to head past stranded Adelaide goalkeeper Paul Izzo.
The counter-punch arrived quickly.
Nikola Mileusnic had time and space down the right to measure a cross and it was met by Johan Absalonsen on debut, who headed it downward past 18-year-old Keegan Smith, making his debut in goal.
There were some bright moments in the Phoenix's first game under new head coach Darije Kalezic in a team featuring six new signings.
They were missing captain Andrew Durante, Tom Doyle and Michael McGlinchey who were on international duty with the All Whites in Japan this week, while Gui Finkler was ruled out with injury.
The absence of McGlinchey and Finkler was keenly felt as Adelaide won the midfield battle, looking more comfortable in possession than the hosts.
However, Alex Rufer had some excellent touches and made a brilliant run in the 32nd minute, blazing over from 20 yards out.
Before that, Phoenix defender Marco Rossi headed over from six yards out while striker Andrija Kaluderovic, struck a shoot straight at Izzo after cutting in from the left.
A mix-up between Phoenix fullback Ali Abbas and Smith nearly led to a goal for Daniel Adlung.
The best second-half chance fell to Adelaide's George Blackwood but his header was denied by a reaction save from Smith.
The visitors had the better of the chances in the match, buoyed by an influential performance from Mileusnic wide on the right.
Like the Phoenix, they paid for a lack of killer touch in front of goal.
The Phoenix next game is away to Sydney FC on October 15.
Look back over the match commentary here:
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