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Jun 5, 2011

Socceroos beat NZ 3-0 in Adelaide

Towering striker Josh Kennedy scored twice on his Socceroos return, as a virtual second-string Australia side proved too strong for New Zealand in a 3-0 win at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

Kennedy, back in the national side for the first time in eight months after missing January's Asian Cup due to injury, struck in the ninth and 59th minutes in the international friendly, played in front of 21,281 fans who braved torrential rain at times.

Young gun James Troisi completed the rout in injury time in front of his hometown crowd, slotting a penalty for his first international goal after Robbie Kruse was cut down in the box.

Missing big guns including Lucas Neill, Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell and Mark Schwarzer, Socceroos coach Holger Osieck used the match as an opportunity to test a host of fringe players.

And while they didn't set the world on fire, they were always in control against a New Zealand side, injury-ravaged and coming off a brutal turnaround following a 3-0 loss to Mexico on Thursday in Denver.

Goalkeeper Nathan Coe, Troisi, Neil Kilkenny, Michael Zullo, Matthew Spiranovic and Jon McKain were all handed rare starts and performed well, with Troisi particularly impressive in a 90-minute performance.

Kruse, Rhys Williams, Dario Vidosic and Alex Brosque all came off the bench in the second half, as first team regulars Luke Wilkshire, Brett Holman and stand-in captain Brett Emerton were substituted at halftime with an eye to Tuesday's clash with Serbia in Melbourne.

Kennedy had said during the week he felt he had to prove himself to Osieck, having only played one match under the German coach, and gave a good account of himself in a 60-minute performance.

His first goal was gift-wrapped from the Kiwis, pouncing after goalkeeper Glen Moss lost control of a questionable Jeremy Brockie backpass and steering the ball into an open net.

He should have made it two just after halftime, when Vidosic played him into the clear, but he smashed over the bar from close range.

He made amends a short time later though, claiming his ninth international goal with a trademark header from a pinpoint Vidosic corner.

As Osieck took the chance to inject fresh faces throughout the second half, Australia continued to threaten in attack with Kruse, Brosque, Vidosic and Troisi combining well.

Their reward came when Kruse was cut down by Ben Sigmund deep into injury time and Troisi was allowed the spot kick for a crowd-pleasing finish.

The All Whites were not totally disgraced, particularly considering their troubled build up, but rarely threatened on goal, aside from half chances to Kosta Barbarouses, Shane Smeltz and Chris Wood.

Neill was left on the bench due to a groin problem but was expected to take part against Serbia, along with usual centre back partner Sasa Ognenovski.

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