April 29, 2011
AUCKLAND The Junior All Whites have booked their ticket to the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia by beating the Solomon Islands 3-1 in the final of the OFC U-20 Championship at North Harbour Stadium on Friday.
When Cory Chettleburgh squeezed a shot inside Silas Sedas near post in the fifth minute, the Junior All Whites looked set to continue their free scoring ways but a determined Solomons side drew level in the 23rd minute when playmaker Himson Teleda strode on to a Toata Tigi through ball and beat the on-rushing Stefan Marinovic.
A Dakota Lucas flicked header hit the foot of the post three minutes later and golden ball winner Marco Rojas saw a sweetly-struck shot tipped on to the cross bar before halftime.
The theme of missed chances continued after the break with James Musa hitting the bar ten minutes after the restart and other half chances were squandered before substitute Andy Bevin netted the crucial second goal in the 58th minute.
Six minute later Lucas pounced on an under-hit back pass to round the keeper and give New Zealand added comfort, and both Bevin and Lucas missed further chances to punish a fading Solomon side while substitute Ryan Cain drew a fine save from Seda as fulltime approached.
A proud New Zealand coach Chris Milicich admitted the game was closer than he would have liked but said he always expected to pull away from the Solomons in the second half.
Its a good feeling. Finals are not easy; its do or die on both sides. We were the better team and deserved to win so Im very pleased.
We were pretty calm at halftime. It was 0-0 at the halftime the first time we played them so I knew we would get on top on them and run them off the ground.
The draw for the July and August finals was made on Thursday, with New Zealand drawn against Portugal, Uruguay and Cameroon in the Colombia city of Cali.
New Zealand will get a early taste of the Uruguayan challenge when the two side meet at the Suwon Cup in Korea on May 5. The Junior All Whites also play Korea and Nigeria in what Milicich sees a vital acid test for his squad.
How good are we? Itll be a great chance for us to benchmark these players against some very good teams from outside Oceania and find out where we are.
OFC U-20 Championship
North Harbour Stadium, Auckland
New Zealand 3 (Cory CHETTLEBURGH 5, Andy BEVIN 58, Dakota LUCAS 64)
Solomon Islands 1 (Himson TELEDA 23)
New Zealand qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011
New Zealand: 1-Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 3-Nick BRANCH (c), 5-Cory CHETTLEBURGH , 8-Ethan GALBRAITH (2-Andy BEVIN 46) , 10-Ant HOBBS, 11-Dakota LUCAS, 13-Colin MURPHY , 14-James MUSA, 15-Marco ROJAS, 16-Luke ROWE, 17-Zane SOLE.
Substitutes not used: 4-Ryan CAIN, 6-Nikko BOXALL, 7-Jamie DORIS, 9-Liam GRAHAM, 12-Andrew MILNE, 18-Adam THOMAS, 19-Neko VUJEVICH, 20-James MCPEAKE (rgk)
Coach: Chris MILICICH
Cautions: Ethan GALBRAITH 44, Zane SOLE 51, Nick BRANCH 79
Solomon Islands: 20-Silas SEDA (gk), 3-Freddie KINI, 4-Michael SIRA, 5-Chris TAFOA (16-Brian PETER 90),6-Michael BOSO, 7-Toata TIGI (2-Ian SIDA 74), 10-Tutizama TANITO, 11-Dennis IFUNAOA, 12-Leonard ROKOTO, 13-Augustine SAMANI (8-Steven SARU 79), 15-Himson TELEDA.
Substitutes not used: 1-Peter KIRIAU (rgk), 9-Larry SAE, 14-Hudson FELANI, 17-Conley RATA, 18-Osmon LUI, 19-Willie LAMANI.
Coach: Noel WAGAPU
Bronze Medal Match
Golden Ball (best player) Marco ROJAS (NZL)
Golden Glove (best goalkeeper) Silas SEDA (SOL)
Golden Boot (top scorer) Jean KALTAK (VAN), 6 goals