New Zealand has survived a late scare to ensure its progression to
the semi finals of the Oceania Nations Cup and the next phase OFC World
New Zealand looked set for a comfortable win over the Frank
Farina-led Papua New Guinea side, but a late penalty to PNG gave the All
Whites a few nervous moments, before finishing 2-1 victors.
Played in hot and steamy conditions at the Lawson Tama Stadium in
Honiara, Solomon Islands, the victory ensured New Zealand stayed top of
Group B with six points, ahead of its final group game against the host
nation on Wednesday.
Shane Smeltz got the All Whites off to the perfect start, when he headed home a Jeremy Brockie cross after just two minutes.
Smeltz then laid on the 2nd goal in the 53rd minute for Bristol City striker Chris Wood.
Papua New Guinea kept fighting till the end and was awarded a penalty two minutes from time, which substitute Neil Hans duly converted.
the other Group B match, Solomon Islands played out a goalless draw
with Fiji. The Solomon Islands sits second on the group table with four
points, while Fiji has one point and must beat PNG to have any hope of
qualifying for the semi finals.
The winner of the tournament will represent Oceania at the 2013 Confederations Cup while the four semi-finalists will all progress to the next stage of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
New Zealand midfielder Marco Rojas has signed with German Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart.