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Junior All Whites make winning start to World Cup bid

New Zealand have made a positive start to their bid to qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia with a 3-0 win over the Solomon Islands at Centre Park in Auckland on Saturday.

Marco Rojas celebrates scoring from the penalty spot. www.photosport.co.nz

April 23, 2011

AUCKLAND – New Zealand have made a positive start to their bid to qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia with a 3-0 win over the Solomon Islands at Centre Park in Auckland on Saturday.

Diminutive playmaker Marco Rojas had a hand in all three goals, laying on the final pass for the first and last goals and netting from the penalty spot in between as the Junior All Whites leapfrogged the Solomons at the top of Group B at the OFC U-20 Championship, and put one foot into the semi-finals.

After a goal less first half, Dakota Lucas controlled a Rojas cross neatly inside the six yard box before opening the scoring in the 51st minute, and ten minutes later Andrew Milne duped Freddie Kini into making a lazy tackle inside the area to earn a penalty.

Rojas duly converted the spot kick and then put the finishing touches on a fine individual contribution by slipping a pass into the run of substitute Andy Bevin who made it 3-0 in the 68th minute.

“The surface isn’t the best but we dealt with it well,” said Rojas.

“It was a good win and hopefully we can carry that momentum into the rest of the tournament.”

“You can always play better but it was nice to have a part in the goals.”

Coach Chris Milicich was equally pleased with a winning start and called on his side to book top spot in the group against New Caledonia on Monday afternoon.

“I’m very happy,” said Milicich, “there were obviously a bit of nerves for the boys in their first game, but we’ll take 3-0.”

“New Zealand has traditionally struggled to qualify at this age group so it has to be about results, and we’ll take whatever performance as long as we win.”

“In the first half we created numerous chances, but it just wouldn’t go in.”

“We’re always want to be top qualifier. You want to be playing the second team out of the other group. It’s just makes it a little easier, but at the end of the day none of these games are easy anymore. “

Himson Teleda offered the biggest threat for the Solomon Islands getting behind the New Zealand defence once in the first half then thumping a shot of the post with the score still 1-0.

Otherwise, the Junior All Whites back four kept the pacey Solomon forwards quiet and centre back James Musa twice went close to scoring at the other end, hitting the post in the first half and having a header cleared off the line after the break.

New Zealand enjoyed the lion share of chances, with set pieces and mazey Rojas running the chief suppliers. The impressive Bevin also made the most of his cameo late in the second half with some fine touches.

OFC U-20 Championship
Centre Park, Mangere, Auckland

Group B
New Zealand 3 (Dakota LUCAS 51’, Marco ROJAS 61’, Andy BEVIN 68’)
Solomon Islands 0
Halftime: 0-0

New Zealand: 1-Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 3-Nick BRANCH (c), 5-Cory CHETTLEBURGH (2-Andy BEVIN 53’), 10-Ant HOBBS, 11-Dakota LUCAS, 12-Andrew MILNE, 13-Colin MURPHY (18-Adam THOMAS 65’), 14-James MUSA, 15-Marco ROJAS (4-Ryan CAIN 80’), 16-Luke ROWE, 17-Zane SOLE.
Substitutes not used: 6-Nikko BOXALL, 7-Jamie DORIS, 8-Ethan GALBRAITH, 9-Liam GRAHAM, 19-Neko VUJEVICH, 20-James MCPEAKE (rgk)
Coach: Chris MILICICH

Cautions: None

Solomon Islands: 20-Silas SEDA (gk), 3-Freddie KINI, 4-Michael SIRA, 5-Chris TAFOA (19-Willie LAMANI 76’), 6-Michael BOSO, 7-Toata TIGI (17-Conley RATA 58’), 10-Tutizama TANITO, 11-Dennis IFUNAOA, 13-Augustine SAMANI (8-Steven SARU 67’), 15-Himson TELEDA.
Substitutes not used: 1-Peter KIRIAU (rgk), 2-Ian SIDA, 9-Larry SAE, 14-Hudson FELANI, 16-Brian PETER, 18-Osmon LUI.
Coach: Noel WAGAPU

Cautions: 12-Leonard ROKOTO 24’

Other Match Day 2 Results
Vanuatu 2
Fiji 0
Halftime: 1-0

Papua New Guinea 5
American Samoa 1
Halftime: 2-0

Standings

Group A

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

PTS

Vanuatu

2

2

0

0

9

0

9

6

Papua New Guinea

2

1

1

0

5

1

4

4

Fiji

2

0

1

1

0

2

-2

1

American Samoa

2

0

0

2

1

12

-11

0

 

 

Group B

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

PTS

New Zealand

1

1

0

0

3

0

3

3

Solomon Islands

2

1

0

1

3

4

-1

3

New Caledonia

1

0

0

1

1

3

-2

0

OFC U-20 Championship
April 21-29, 2011
Centre Park, Mangere, Auckland
Winner qualifies for FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011

Results
Vanuatu 7 American Samoa 0
Solomon Islands 3 New Caledonia 1
Fiji 0 Papua New Guinea 0
Vanuatu 2 Fiji 0
Papua New Guinea 5 American Samoa 1
New Zealand

Remaining New Zealand games
April 25: New Zealand v New Caledonia, 3.30pm
April 27: Semi finals
April 29: Final and bronze medal match

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