From a well-worked short corner in the 54th minute, a deft piece of control and sharp half-volley from Cameron Howieson on the edge of the area brought the New Zealanders level, cancelling out a stunning long range opener from Aspire’s captain in the 25th minute.
But the hosts converted a winner inside the final ten minutes when the Young All Whites defence could only manage a partial clearance.
The four match trip to the world-leading Doha facility – extended from two matches when the Young All Whites were withdrawn from the 16-team Sanix Cup tournament in Japan due to safety concerns – has seen New Zealand beat a Club Brugge age group side 1-0 and drop a trio of matches to Aspire Academy 3-4, 0-3, and 1-2.
Coach Steve Cain believes the experience has been invaluable as his side tries to make the step up from Oceania qualifiers to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico in June and July.
“This trip, to an academy quite possibly unmatched in the world, has been a huge stepping stone for our team,” said Cain.
“The gulf in class they have had to overcome from any previous opponents they have played has been huge and they have begun the process of closing that gap very well indeed in the past ten days.”
“These games have been an experience of how the game is played at top levels in this age group and the knowledge of themselves and where they have to get to before the World Cup in June will be invaluable over the next few months.”
Cain said defenders Reece Lambert and Harshae Raniga along with forward Tim Payne shone on tour with Jordan Vale and Dylan Stansfield not far behind.
The next date in the Young All Whites’ calendar is the official draw for the finals on May 17, shortly after the conclusion of European and South American qualification tournaments complete the 24 nation field.
New Zealand Football are also looking for more games for the Young All Whites before the start of the finals on June 18.
Friendly Match
Aspire Dome
Doha, Qatar
Wednesday 30 March, 2011
Aspire Academy 2 (25’, 81’)
New Zealand U-17 1 (Cameron HOWIESON 54’)
Halftime 1-0
New Zealand U-17: Scott BASALAJ (GK), Bill TUILOMA, Harshae RANIGA, Luke ADAMS (captain), Reece LAMBERT, Rhys JORDAN, Jordan VALE, Cameron MARTIN, Tim PAYNE, Cameron HOWIESON, Dylan STANSFIELD.
Substitutes used: Oliver WRIGHT, Nathan BUSWELL, James WYPYCH.
Substitutes not used: Liam ANDERSON (RGK), James DEBENHAM, Matthew GOULD (RGK), Calvin OPPERMAN, Shawn O’BRIEN, Alex RIDSDALE, Ken YAMAMOTO.
Coach: Steve CAIN.