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 Saturday, April 13, 2002 21:52 EST

Smith, Zhao lead Charge past Beat

[Associated Press]

ATLANTA -- Kelly Smith and Zhao Lihong scored as Philadelphia beat Atlanta 2-0 Saturday night as the Charge defeated the Beat for the first time.

The Beat went 2-0-2 against the Charge in the WUSA's inaugural season last year, including a 3-2 overtime victory in the playoffs.

Atlanta, which lost to Bay Area in the WUSA championship game last year, was shut out in its season opener for the second straight year.

The game drew an announced crowd of 10,070, less than half the Beat's season-opening crowd from last season.

After a scoreless first half, Smith was fouled by Sun Wen in the 60th minute and hooked the free kick into the top right corner of the goal over a leaping Briana Scurry.

Zhao beat Scurry from the right in the 72nd minute, hooking the ball inside the upper left corner for a 2-0 lead.

Atlanta misfired on its two most serious threats, both headers by Sun who took a cross from Julie Augustyniak in the 40th minute and missed outside the left post. Sun's header in the 51st minute also rolled outside the left post.

Scurry and Philadelphia keeper Melissa Moore recorded two saves each.

Smith and Jenny Benson each received yellow cards, Smith in the 44th minute and Benson in the 58th.


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