The Wellington Phoenix opened their Indian tour with a professional performance as they beat URO United Sikkim FC 3-0 in difficult conditions at Imphal yesterday.
The scoreline flattered the Indian side with the Phoenix failing to capitalise on nine scoring opportunities, thanks in part to some fine goalkeeping by Sikkim's Korean goalkeeper Yoon Tae, before Paul Ifill opened the scoring in the 34th minute.
Tyler Boyd, starting alongside Ifill up front, added a second just before halftime with a superb volley that flew into the top corner of Tae's goal.
Whether the game would take place had been in doubt 24 hours earlier when Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert saw the baked, rutted surface of the ground.
Herbert insisted the pitch be heavily watered so a fire truck was brought in to soften the ground. Ironically the heavens opened early in the second half and torrential rain flooded the ground.
That, along with some substitutions, upset the Phoenix's rhythm and it wasn't till the closing minutes that they added a third through Louis Fenton, who headed in after Michael Boxall had nodded a corner back across goal.
Herbert was pleased to get the first game of the tour under his belt and was satisfied with the way things went.
"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.
"It was also pleasing that six of our academy players got a run and that we got through the game injury free."