Imphal : A heroic performance by United Sikkim’s Korean goalkeeper, Yoon Tae, poor finishing by Wellington Phoenix and heavy rains made sure than United Sikkim FC lose the match only by a respectable margin of 3 goals. True to their reputation, A-League’s New Zealand club, Wellington Phoenix dominated the full match, creating clear cut chances throughout the match. USFC’s latest recruit, goalkeeper Yoon Tae, performed well under the bars and the A-League side could only open their account at 34th minute despite creating 9 promising chances before that. This win takes Wellington Phoenix in ‘The North East Lajong Super Series’.
Playing in Imphal, in the Khuman Lampak Main Stadium, where some 6000 fans came to watch the match, Wellington Phoenix proved to be a tough and a physically superior team. Pheonix’s initial burst and foray’s in USFC’s goal gave the newly promoted I-League side no chance in the game. Wellington Phoenix started with a few reserve squad players along with more experienced players like Paul Ifill and Tony Lochhead. In fact, it was the captain Paul Ifill, the ex-Milwall, Crystal Place player, who opened up the scoring at 34th minute. Ifill tapped in a cross from Louis Fenton, who created the opportunity after a great run down the flanks. Before the halftime whistle, Phoenix academy boy, Tyler Boyd scored with a fine volley. The second half started with heavy rains, which disrupted Pheonix’s rhythm and game plan, they could only score the last goal at the closing stages with a goal from another academy product Louis Fenton, who headed in a corner from Micheal Boxall.
After the match, Phoenix coach, Ricki Herbert, who is also New Zealand national team coach, expressed is satisfaction with the result. “That was what we needed,” Herbert said. “It was a level up to what we have been playing and they have plenty of pace so it was a good test for us. We created some good chances and our pace looked good at the top.” He was happy that the academy boys did well and the game went injury free. Given that it was the first match for the new recruits of United Sikkim, they would hope for a better display in the subsequent matches.
The teams :
Wellington Phoenix – Glenn Moss, Leo Bertos (Justin Gulley), Michael Boxall, Tony Lochhead, Luke Rowe, Benjamin Totori (Tom Biss), Lindsay, Alex Smith (Jeremy Brockie), Louis Fenton, Paul Ifill (Tom Doyle), Tyler Boyd
United Sikkim – Yoon Tae , Zenit Mashangva, Rahul Jaiswal, Mun Mun Timothy Lagun, Ashish Chettri, Nima Tamang, Michael Rodriguez, Shahensha Ansari, Linekar Machado, Nadong Bhutia, Buddiram Tudu