By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Sony Australia hosted journalists and business partners at the 2010 World Cup Qualifier between Australia and Uzbekistan on Wednesday night. It was a night of traffic, laughter, rain, some more rain and football.

As a major global supporter of the World Cup in South Africa next year, Sony is currently pushing its football credentials. Bleary eyed Champions League fans would have already seen Brazilian superstar and property of Jesus, Kaka, promoting Bravia LCD screens, and the supplier is currently the major sponsor of the Wellington Phoenix A-League team.

To strengthen relationships, both footballing and professionally, the local office hosted technology and consumer journalists at ANZ Stadium for the clash.

The guests congregated on Oxford Street shortly after close of business for a quick Peroni (definitely the in beer with PR these days) before loading into a MaxiTaxi for the trip to Homebush. According to Google Maps, this trip should take 37 minutes, but the confluence of traffic with several newly formed rivers stretched the journey out to 80. It must be noted, however, that no-one seemed to notice the ennui until we ran out of refreshments.

Upon alighting at the Olympic stadium, guests recreated Cathy Freeman’s famous 400 metre run (although this time outside the stadium) as we looked to find Gate B. Just as the anthems were wrapping up, we took our seats in the pouring rain to enjoy the battle. Some journos scrounged around for plastic ponchos, others redesigned their umbrella for partial protection, whilst one attendee chose to warm himself only with the pride of wearing his Australian Gold replica jersey.

The first half was a turgid affair, with Australia’s 4-5-1 and the Uzbek’s 4-6-0 resulting in the ball rarely leaving midfield. Marco Bresciano squandered a great opportunity from 5 metres, just to the right of goal, inside the first 10 minutes, but very little forward play resulted in any more half-chances during the opening term.

In the second half, the jetlag and unfavourable conditions began to affect the White Wolves, and they were pushed further and further back towards their 18-yard line. Josh Kennedy came on for the poor Scott McDonald and gave Australia the lead on 66 minutes. Harry Kewell doubled Australia’s lead from the spot seven minutes later and the three points were safe.

Back in the stands, the rain was torrential, not unlike what Tim Cahill would be used to at Everton. But with good company and some watered-down stadium beer, the low-key but high intensity event still proved a success for Sony.

Unfortunately, journalists present didn’t get a chance to speak with local boss Carl Rose, though he did wave to us from his corporate box.