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Galaxy beat Victory in penalty shootout

They couldn't go wild about Harry, but at least those who came to let their hormones rage could dream about a Becks and a good lie down.

Billed as a clash between two of the sexiest men in world soccer in Melbourne on Tuesday night, only David Beckham was there.

Harry Kewell wasn't, as Beckham's LA Galaxy beat Melbourne Victory after a penalty shootout when scores were locked at 2-2 at the end of 90 minutes in their much-hyped exhibition match.

The notoriously injury-prone Kewell confirmed he was fit for the Etihad Stadium match, but was being rested for Victory's crucial A-League game against Adelaide United this weekend.

Kewell's wife Sheree Murphy summed up the feelings of most female fans present - and there were plenty among the 34,000-plus crowd.

She tweeted: "Don't know who is more gutted, me or him."

Kewell was diplomatic about his omission, though he confirmed Victory coach Mehmet Durakovic had pulled the rug on him squaring up against old English Premier League rival Beckham.

"We have an important game on the weekend, and the manager's told me I can't play," Kewell told Fox Sports.

"I'm 100 per cent fit, I trained today, and I wanted to be out there."

But Beckham, who floats across football, fashion and fame with the airiness of one of his famous right-foot crosses, had his every move cheered until he was substituted three minutes from the end.

For the football aficionados, the 36-year-old ex-England skipper turned back the clock.

Beckham's audacious lob from inside his own half on 13 minutes which just missed was reminiscent of the 1996 goal for Manchester United against Wimbledon from similar range which launched him to stardom.

He also won one of two penalties for his side in normal time - bodychecked by Victory defender Petar Franjic to earn the spot-kick for Robbie Keane and surely YouTube infamy for the Melbourne centre-back.

Typical of an exhibition match, both teams dominated one half each.

The Victory were excellent in the first 45 minutes and led 2-0 after 37 minutes with goals to Carlos Hernandez and Isaka Cernak.

But after the Galaxy were gifted a dubious penalty for handball just before halftime which Keane converted to make it 2-1 at halftime, the visitors lifted markedly in the second term.

Keane's second penalty squared things up at 2-2.

Then the Galaxy then took advantage of a Victory side which made several substitutions to push hard for a winner which never came in normal time.

The match went to a penalty shootout, which the Galaxy won 4-3 as Victory duo Paulo Retre and Marco Rojas missed their spot-kicks to decide the game.

Beckham, who almost certainly has played his last match on his US adventure as he weighs up a return to Europe, admitted he had been battling a hamstring injury on tour.

"The reception and welcome we've had here has been pretty incredible," said Beckham, who swapped shirts with his ex-Manchester United teammate Grant Brebner after the match.


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