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Oly Whites hit 10 to reach semi-finals

The New Zealand U-23 football team have eased into the semi finals of the OFC Men’s Olympic qualifiers with a resounding 10-0 thumping of Tonga on the final day of pool play.

Louis Fenton celebrates a goal with captain Greg Draper. Photosport.co.nz

March 21, 2012

AUCKLAND – The New Zealand U-23 football team have eased into the semi finals of the OFC Men’s Olympic qualifiers with a resounding 10-0 thumping of Tonga on the final day of pool play.

The win confirms the Oly Whites as Group B winners following Friday’s 1-0 win over Papua New Guinea, who also progress to the final four.

New Zealand will meet either Fiji or Vanuatu in Friday’s rescheduled semi-final, with those two teams due to clash at 5pm today to determine the top two spots in Group A.

Welsh-based striker Greg Draper was handed captain’s armband to deputise for Adam McGeorge who was rested due to being one yellow card short of the suspension limit, and the former All White responded with the opening goal in the 24th minute.

Tongan goalkeeper Soane Faupula pulled off a couple of top class saves to keep the scores close but goals from Jason Hicks and Daniel Saric before half time had New Zealand in cruise control.

The flood gates opened after the break with Louis Fenton adding two in four minutes before his Team Wellington team mate Ethan Galbraith achieved the feat within three minutes later in the half.

Defender James Musa got on the score sheet with nine minutes remaining, sandwiched by Sean Lovemore’s second and third goals of the tournament to round the score out to double figures.

New Zealand coach Neil Emblen was disappointed with a first half performance he described as “rusty” but happy with the way a number of fringe players responded in the second spell.

“You’d take that score line if it was offered before the game,” said Emblen.

“The passing wasn’t as crisp as we would have liked and we’re yet to hit top gear.

“We want to go through the tournament not conceding a goal – if we can do that we’ll get to London – and we’re still on track in that area.

“We pulled a couple of players early and that shows how important they are to our campaign, but we said to the boys at halftime that the game was won and they now had the chance to choose the team for Friday.

“It was a chance to put to get themselves in my mind when I’m picking the line up for the semi finals and it’s pleasing to see players sticking their hands up.”

Earlier in the day in a match with no bearing on the semi finals, American Samoa scored early against Solomon Islands before eventually losing 16-1.

OFC Men’s Olympic Qualifiers 2012
16-24 March 2012
Owen Delany Park, Taupo, New Zealand

Match Day Three
Wednesday 21 March

New Zealand 10 (Greg DRAPER 24’, Jason HICKS 34’, Daniel SARIC 45’, Louis FENTON 52’, 55’; Ethan GALBRAITH 72’, 74’; Sean LOVEMORE 78’, 90+1’; James MUSA 81’)
Tonga 0
Halftime: 3-0

New Zealand: 20-Michael O'KEEFFE (GK), 2-Tim MYERS, 7-Cameron LINDSAY, 9-Greg DRAPER (captain / 8-Ethan GALBRAITH 63’),12-Louis FENTON, 13-Alex FENERIDIS (10-Sean LOVEMORE 63’), 14-James MUSA, 15-Jason HICKS, 16-Tristan PRATTLEY, 18-Adam THOMAS (5-Anthony HOBBS 46’), 19-Daniel SARIC.
Substitutes not used: 1-Jake GLEESON (RGK), 3-Ian HOGG, 4-Michael EAGER, 17-Adam MCGEORGE.
Suspended: 11-Dakota LUCAS
Coach: Neil EMBLEN

Tonga: 1-Soane FAUPULA (GK), 2-Fineasi PALEI, 4-Christian LIKIO (14-Sevedale LATU 66’), 5-Oliveti VAI, 6-Malakai SAVIETI, 7-Siosifa MOIMOI, 8-Timote MAAMALOA (16-Misinale LUTU 86’), 11-Kinitoni FALATAU 88’), 17-Joseph KAPANI,, 12-Siosaia LATUPAUU, 13-Samisoni MAFI, 20-Ilaisa LOTAKI.
Substitutes not used: 9-Sione LANGI, 10-Matana PAONGO, 15-Hemaloto POLOVILI, 18-Vei TAUFA'AO (GK), 19-Steven LIKIO, 21-Vaha MAAMALOA.
Coach: Timote MOLENI

Match Day Three Scores
Solomon Islands 16
American Samoa 1

Halftime: 3-1

New Zealand 10
Tonga 0

Halftime: 3-0

Fiji 2
Vanuatu 1

Halftime: 2-0 

Group A

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

PTS

Fiji

3

3

0

0

11

2

9

9

Vanuatu

3

2

0

0

10

2

8

6

Solomon Islands

3

1

0

2

16

4

12

3

American Samoa

3

0

0

3

2

31

-29

0

 

Group B

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

PTS

New Zealand

2

2

0

0

11

0

11

6

Papua New Guinea

2

1

0

1

3

1

2

3

Tonga

2

0

0

2

0

13

-13

0

Remaining Schedule

Friday 23 March – Semi-finals
Fiji v Papua New Guinea – 1:00pm
New Zealand v Vanuatu – 4:00pm

Sunday 25 March – Finals Day
3rd Place Play-off – 1:00pm
Final – 4pm

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