Smeltz on target for New Zealand

On target ... New Zealand striker Shane Smeltz (Getty Images)

New Zealand grabbed a valuable 2-0 away win over New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands beat Tahiti 2-0 at home to open the third stage of Oceania qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Shane Smeltz and Chris Wood scored for New Zealand, which used the encounter to avenge its shock loss to New Caledonia in the semi-finals of the Oceania Nations Cup, the previous qualifying stage in the Pacific confederation.

The four semi-finalists from that tournament are contesting the third stage of qualifying which features home and away matches between all teams and which continues until March 2013.

The winner of the tournament will then face the fifth-placed team from CONCACAF for a place in the World Cup in Brazil.

New Zealand, led by Queens Park Rangers defender Ryan Nelson, scored twice before half-time as it outplayed New Caledonia at Noumea's Stade Numa Daly.

Smeltz opened the scoring in the 12th minute when New Caledonia goalkeeper Rocky Nyikeine failed to hold a shot from Wood, deflecting the ball to the feet of the New Zealand striker.

Wood added the second goal in the 40th minute when Smeltz flicked on a cross from midfielder Michael McGlinchey.

Earlier, Henry Fa'arodo scored in the first half and Himson Teleda in the second as the Solomon Islands thrilled a home crowd at Lawson Tama Stadium in the Pacific nation's capital Honiara.

Fa'arodo struck in the 17th minute, driving home Benjamin Totori's cross from the right wing.

Tahiti was reduced to 10 men just before half-time when Nicolas Vallar was sent off for a reckless tackle on Fa'arodo and Teleda sealed the win with his 59th-minute goal from Fa'arodo's pass.

Source AP