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Brazil edge Ferns in Lagos

Making their debut at the invite-only tournament, the 16th-ranked New Zealand side fell behind in their Group B opener to a 20th minute goal from Debora de Oliveira.
With Brazil enjoying the better of the first half in possession, the Football Ferns survived a major scare a minute before the break after Aimee Phillips was ruled to have handled the ball in the New Zealand penalty area.
But New Zealand goalkeeper Erin Nayler did brilliantly to save the resulting spot kick and keep her side in touch at halftime.
Tony Readings’ Football Ferns side asserted themselves after the restart, enjoying a bigger share of possession and time in the opposition half but they couldn’t find an equaliser, the best opportunity falling to substitute Rosie White in the last 10 minutes but the Brazilian side scrambled the ball clear.
Readings said Thursday’s opener was certainly a match of contrasting halves.
“In the first half Brazil were well on top and we had patches of play where we did well but across the half we were quite fortunate to come in at one goal down,” Readings said.
“But then in the second half we were a completely different team and we missed two really good opportunities to tie it up. Overall we’re pretty disappointed because we played well enough in the second half to get something from it.
“There’s a good lesson, you can’t play well for one half against a quality team like Brazil because you’ve got to play well across the whole game.”
Readings said Nayler’s penalty save was important in giving the side a better shot at a second half fight back which ultimately fell short.
“If we would have gone in 2-0 down then it would have been quite hard to pick ourselves up, so it definitely did spur us on a little bit. Sometimes you think when those things happen it might be your day but unfortunately it wasn’t.”
Readings and his side now turn their attention to their next opponents – 20th ranked Russia (7.30am Saturday morning NZ time), who claimed a 1-0 win over hosts Portugal on Thursday.
“We finished the game well so we’ve got some good momentum to go into the next game against Russia. It will be a bit of a mixture of carrying things through from this game but looking to hurt Russia in a different way because they do play a different style.”
“This is tournament football, this game is gone and now we’ve just got make sure we do everything we can to win the second game.”
In the other Group B match on Thursday, hosts Portugal (ranked 40th) were beaten 1-0 by Russia (22).
New Zealand’s next game of the tournament is against Russia on Saturday at 7.30am (NZ time).
Algarve Cup 2016
New Zealand 0-1 Brazil (half: 0-1)
NZL: –
BRA: Debora de Oliveira 20’
New Zealand: 1. Erin Nayler (GK), 2. Ria Percival, 4. Katie Duncan, 5. Abby Erceg (capt), 6. Rebekah Stott, 9. Amber Hearn, 10. Sarah Gregorius (8. Jasmine Pereira 78’), 11. Kirsty Yallop (12. Betsy Hassett 60’), 14. Katie Bowen, 16. Annalie Longo, 25. Aimee Phillips (13. Rosie White 46’)
Substitutes not used: 3. Anna Green, 7. Ali Riley, 15. Meikayla Moore, 18. CJ Bott, 20. Daisy Cleverley, 21. Rebecca Rolls (GK), 24. Kate Loye
Coach: Tony Readings
Story courtesy of New Zealand Football

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