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Jul 10, 2010

Everton pip Sydney FC 1-0

Colourfully attired English Premier League side Everton started their season in the pink by beating A-League champion Sydney FC 1-0 in a pre-season friendly at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

A well taken goal by Nigerian international striker Victor Anichebe less than a minute into the second half was the only score of a competitive game watched by 40,446 spectators.

Playing in their new change strip of lightning pink for the first time, Everton showed some nice touches, but Sydney offered their fans plenty of hope for the season ahead.

With his orange and grey boots and pink shirt Anichebe was hard to miss, but Sydney didn't pick up the Nigerian international, whose smart turn and fierce shot supplied the only goal.

Everton's captain for the night, classy Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta displayed his trademark artistry, while Leon Osman, left back Leighton Baines and Anichebe also caught the eye.

Sydney were far from disgraced and enjoyed a decent share of possession and created some good chances.

Lively striker Alex Brosque went close on a number of occasions.

He had a couple of shots saved by Everton goalkeeper Iain Turner, went close with a second half chip and had a 78th minute claim for a penalty waved away by referee Strebre Delovski.

Everton's Socceroo midfield star Tim Cahill played the second half, receiving a loud ovation as he came out onto the field ahead of his teammates.

Terry Antonis, the 16-year-old who has been mentored by Cahill and wore the same jersey number as the Everton star, came on in the 67th minute.

Substitute Dimitri Petratos had a late chance for Sydney, but lost control of the ball just a few metres out from goal in the 87th minute.

Trinidad's former Manchester United star Dwight Yorke, Sydney's marquee player in their first A-League title winning team, played 62 minutes.

He distributed the ball accurately from midfield though he rarely ventured far from the centre circle.

Both sides had a number of early shots from distance.

Brosque, Brendan Gan, Sun-Hwan Byun and new signing Scott Jamieson all had attempts for the home team, while James Vaughan, Baines and Jack Rodwell peppered the visitors goal.

Everton's best first half chance fell to Anichebe, whose 34th minute shot was blocked by Sydney custodian Ivan Necevski.

Brosque had his team's best first half opportunity in the 31st minute, but his effort was saved by Turner.

Everton coach David Moyes praised both Sydney and his own team.

"It was a tough game for us, I thought we played well, I thought we passed it well," Moyes said.

"Maybe we didn't get as many chances as we would want but overall I was pleased.

"We thought for our first pre-season game we played quite well, so that gives you an idea of where Sydney are."

Cahill said it was "brilliant" to play against an Australian team for once.

"It was really impressive to see the football Sydney played and also the way we played," Cahill said.

"I warned the lads before the game how difficult this game was going to be, and how up for it they would be because I know a lot of the lads personally and they were a credit to themselves."

Sydney coach Vitezslav Lavicka said it had been a great experience for his team and felt they had done well.

"We played compact in defence, we created several good moments in attack as well, but they punished us early in the second half," Lavicka said.

Yorke said he wasn't surprised at being able to last an hour and Lavicka compared him to a fine wine saying the 38-year-old veteran was getting better with age.

At the other extreme of the experience scale, Antonis felt he did well.

"I learnt heaps from this game," Antonis said.

Cahill said he was proud of Antonis:

"He did well, some great touches."

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