OFC U-17 Championship: New Zealand beats New Caledonia to lift the trophy

New Zealand confirmed their favoritism and won the OFC U-17 Championship for the ninth time, moving ever closer to overtaking Australia – which has 10 titles – as the tournament’s greatest champion.

It was not an easy tournament for the Kiwis, they faced difficulties in almost every match of the competition. In the final – which was a replay of the first round match against New Caledonia – it was no different.

In the very first minute of the game Jean-Philippe Angexetine had a chance to open the scoring for New Caledonia, he won the ball from the New Zealand captain, Dylan Gardiner and his finish went side-netting.

A few minutes later Harrison Tisch took a corner-kick that would have been a goal if it was not cleared off the line by Bayron Gohoupe on the goalline. At the 24th minute New Zealand scored what would be the winning goal – Ryan Lee crossed, the New Caledonian goalkeeper Claude Tiaouniane fumbled the ball that was left for Niko Bruce to finish with his left-foot and score.

New Caledonia almost tied the match at the 44th minute when Joseph Hnaissilin made a beautiful move dribbling around his marking-man and finishing to a beautiful save by New Zealand goalkeeper Matt Foord.

OFC Media

In the second-half the match situation remained the same, New Caledonia was moving up its scoring lines to force New Zealand into error. But the first big chance was for New Zealand – Luke Supyk exchanged passes with Gabriel Sloane-Rodrigues and shot to the left of the goal, almost adding another to his tally in the tournament.

Just two minutes later New Zealand defender Luka Coveny was shown a second yellow-card and consequently the red card after fouling Nolhann Alebate.

With an extra-man the pressure from New Caledonia increased, with many crosses to the box and individual plays from their great talent – Nolhann Alebate. The big chance to tie the score came in the 93rd minute when Alebate took a corner kick, Kyllian Wiako headed it towards goal and Matt Foord made a point-blank save. In the next corner Alebate tried to finish straight at goal and Foord spilled the ball over the crossbar, preventing the Cagous from equalizing. These were the final actions of the game that ended up with a narrow 1-0 win in favour of the New Zealanders.

Both New Zealand and New Caledonia will be preparing for the FIFA U-17 World Cup to be held in Peru this December.


Tournament team selected by OFC

Luke Supyk (New Zealand) and Titouan Guillemant (Tahiti) shared the tournament’s golden boot, both with 6 goals each.

Matt Foord (New Zealand) took the Golden Glove, given to the best goalkeeper of the competition.

Nolhann Alebate (New Caledonia) took the gold ball for the best player of the championship.


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