New Zealand moved one step closer to a FIFA Women’s World Cup berth today after scoring an emphatic 8-0 victory over Solomon Islands at the OFC Women’s World Cup Qualifiers – Papua New Guinea 2007.
A hat-trick from Nicola Smith and goals from Simone Ferrara with a double and one each from Rebecca Smith, Ria Percival and substitute Emma Kete in stifling hot conditions helped guide the New Zealanders to the top of the table after two matches.
With an enormous gulf in ability between the two teams, Solomon Islands struggled to contain New Zealand in virtually every aspect of play with their only goal threat coming from occasional and hopeful long balls. The omission of Layda Samani and Prudence Fula didn’t help their cause with the Solomon Islands unable to retain possession in the top third of the pitch under the watchful defending of Maia Jackman and Rebecca Smith. With the extra time and space available to them New Zealand struggled for coherency at times but their obvious superiority was reflected in the comprehensive score line.
Simone Ferrara opened New Zealand’s goal account in the 4th minute with a long range shot that goalkeeper Regina Kosui failed to hold onto. Ferrara grabbed her second on 23 minutes with a crisp shot from inside the Solomon Islands penalty area as New Zealand took up permanent residence in the Solomon Islands half.
New Zealand were three nil up after 33 minutes when Ria Percival’s cross missed out Wendi Henderson and found Nicola Smith in space to finish clinically. If there was any doubt about the destination of the three points it was all removed when a Percival corner swerved straight into the Solomon Islands net at the far post on 39 minutes.
Percival was back in the action minutes later when she hit an inch-perfect cross to the far post where a completely unmarked Nicola Smith hammered home the header from close range in the 45th minute to give New Zealand a 5-0 halftime lead.
The second-half didn’t get any better for the Solomon Islands with New Zealand adding further goals through captain Rebecca Smith after 50 minutes and Nicola Smith who completed her hat-trick with a right foot shot on the hour mark.
The afternoon still had a drama to unfold in the 76th minute when New Zealand substitute Emily McColl collapsed with heat exhaustion and had to be stretchered off the pitch to an awaiting ambulance. McColl was placed on a drip but later given a clean bill of health by medical experts. After the incident the tempo of the game slowed down to walking pace as both teams struggled in the 35 degree heat.
New Zealand added another goal in the final minute of play when defender Rebecca Smith broke forward and hit a looping cross into the Solomon Islands penalty area. Substitute goalkeeper Glady Bako went for the ball but failed to hold onto it allowing Emma Kete time and space to volley home New Zealand’s eighth goal for an emphatic 8-0 victory.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Regina KOSUI (Glady BAKO 46), Elsie RINGI, Brenda MASAE, Audry GALO, Margaret DAUDAU, Ellen RAURAU (Helen SIKWA’AE 37), Rafe BELO, Samantha MAELAUA (Betty MAENU’U 46), Diane JUSTUS, Annie BWAKOLO, Mary DONGAI.
SUBSTITUTES:Noelyn WAGAPU, Janet ALUFURAI, Prudence FULA, Layda SAMANI.
YELLOW CARDS: None.
RED CARDS: None.
NEW ZEALAND: Jenny BINDON, Rebecca SMITH, Abby ERCEG, Maia JACKMAN, Ali RILEY, Ria PERCIVAL, Simone FERRARA (Emily McCOLL 57), Marlies OOSTDAM (Katie HOYLE 46), Annalie LONGO, Wendi HENDERSON (Emma KETE 46), Nicola SMITH.
SUBSTITUTES: Stephanie PUKRIN, Hannah BROMLEY, Anna GREEN, Kirsty YALLOP, Hayley MOORWOOD, Zoe THOMPSON. .
YELLOW CARDS: None.
RED CARDS: None.
GOALS: Simone FERRARA 4, 22, Nicola SMITH 32, 45+, 62, Ria PERCIVAL 38, Rebecca SMITH 52, Emma KETE 90+.