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Phoenix stunned in India

2 September 2012 05:29

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was staying positive despite his side's shock 3-2 loss to Shillong Lajong to finish their tour of India.

The Phoenix, who beat the same side 5-2 last week, were lacklustre in the first half after taking an early lead through Jeremy Brockie.

A dreadful error by left-back Tony Lochhead gifted Friday Gbenene the first of his two goals.

His second gave the Indians a 2-1 lead at the break.

The introduction of Louis Fenton and Tom Doyle for the second half seemed to spark the Phoenix.

But although they created more chances they were unable to finish.

They eventually drew level through a Paul Ifill penalty after a handball in the box.

But a stunning 30-yard strike from Boithang Haokip sealed the win for Shillong.

"We got a good workout today, especially in the first half, which was what we needed," Herbert said.

"It has been a tough trip but we got four good games under our belt and finished the tour with no injuries."

After another good performance Fenton, who has been compared to former Phoenix young gun Marcos Rojas, he would appear to be a front-runner to earn one of two full-time under-21 contracts still up for grabs.

"Louis was really impressive today and I would have to say he has been the player of the tour overall," Herbert said.

The Phoenix's New Zealand contingent of Herbert, Glen Moss, Leo Bertos, Ben Sigmund, Brockie, Lochhead and Michael Boxall will now travel straight to New Caledonia for the All Whites' first World Cup qualifier in Noumea on Friday.

Striker Benjamin Totori will also join up with his Solomon Islands team-mates.

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