Already qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament, New Zealand fielded an alternate starting eleven to face New Caledonia last Friday at Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium. Despite the low expectations for this game, the All Whites put on a show on the field in front of an inoperative opponent.
Alex Greive had a fantastic performance by scoring New Zealand’s first and third goals of the match. He also played an important role in the second goal, when he was fouled inside the box in a move that culminated in Logan Rogerson’s penalty kick goal.
The first half ended with the score 3-1 for the All Whites, as experienced striker Jean-Philippe Saïko scored in favor of New Caledonia in the 11th minute to tie the match at that point of the game. This was the first and, so far, only goal New Zealand conceded in the tournament.
In the second half, the match remained lukewarm until coach Danny Hay decided to make changes to his team. Andre de Jong, Bill Tuiloma, Chris Wood, Joe Bell and Liberato Cacace came in – and all the goals scored since then have come from these players.
De Jong and Tuiloma each scored a goal, while Chris Wood, who recently became the all-time leading scorer in New Zealand national team history, scored the last two goals of the match to seal a 7-1 victory for the All Whites. You can watch all goals from this match by clicking here.
New Caledonia returns home with three losses and ten goals conceded in the tournament. New Zealand, on the other hand, will face the Solomon Islands this Sunday for a place in the final of the tournament.