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Australia dominates NZ in first Olympic play off

SYDNEY: Australia has beaten New Zealand 2-0 in the first OFC Olympic qualifying play off at Parramatta Stadium in Sydney tonight.

The home side were in control of the match from the opening whistle and finished off the gallant kiwis in the latter stages of the second half through goals to replacement John McKain and Ahmad Elrich.

New Zealand competed well in the opening exchanges and were organised on defence for the first half hour. The Oly-Whites held Australia to a scoreless first half, though the home side came close to scoring on several occasions before the break. New Zealand goalkeeper Glen Moss was equal to the task when called upon.

New Zealand had at least two genuine scoring chances in the first half through striker Brent Fisher who recieved the ball in the box but his shot went wide and the other when Leo Bertos found David Mulligan but his shot was also off the mark.

Chances in the second half for the kiwis were few and far between unfortunately as the Australians poured more pressure on the New Zealand defence – their speed and attacking variation causing the visitors all sorts of problems. The absence of captain Ljubo Milicevic through injury in the first half did not seem to have an effect on the Australians.

With the New Zealand defence continuing to hold after the break Frank Farina played an ace card with the injection of fresh legs in the form of Nick Carle. Immediately his presence was felt and his speed caused the kiwis problems.

Moss was made to pull of a fine series of saves but the inevitable goal came quarter of an hour after Carle’s entry into the game. From a corner, McKain followed up Brett Holman’s shot to score Australia’s first goal.

Elrich finishes off the tiring New Zealanders just minutes later as that man Carle sets him up with a sitter of a pass on the corner of the box which gave Moss no chance.

New Zealand rallied in the final moments to gain a vital away goal to take into the second play off this Friday at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland, but to no avail.

Australia deserved their victory and were easily the better side in all departments. Australian goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic was hardly called upon as Australia overwhelmingly dominated on attack forcing a number of corners to none for New Zealand. The Australians also had far more shots on goal. New Zealand showed little creativity or adventure on attack as their approach was more conservative to their opponents. They looked dangerous as expected from set pieces but never really threatened the Australians and they will need a mammoth effort to turn the tables for the final play off match.

2004 OFC Men’s Olympic Qualifying – Play off 1

Result: Australia 2-0 New Zealand

half-time: 0-0

Venue: Parramatta Stadium, Sydney

Scorers: (Aus) 5.John McKain 77′; (AUs) 14.Ahmad Elrich 84′

Cautions: (NZ) 7.Leo Bertos 60′; (NZ) 17.Neil Jones 73′; (Aus) 9.Brett

Holman 67′

Weather: fine, mild temperatures

Team Line-ups:

New Zealand (& subs)

1. Glen Moss (gk)

2. Rupesh Puna

3. Tony Lochhead

5. Steven Old

6. Andrew Boyens

7. Leo Bertos

8. David Mulligan

10. Brent Fisher

14. Timothy Brown

15. James Pritchett

17. Neil Jones (-78′)

Substitutes from

20. Tamati Williams (rgk)

4. Steven Turner

9. Tariq Iman

11. Shane Smeltz (+78′)

12. Matthew Adams

13. Matthew Wilson

16. Allan Pearce

18. Jarrod Smith

19. Jason Hayne

Coach: Ricki Herbert

Australia (& subs)

1. Eugene Galekovic (gk)

2. Jade North

3. Shane Cansdell-Sherriff

4. Ljubo Milicevic (c) (-16′)

6. David Tarka

14. Ahmad Elrich

15. Carl Valeri

10. Luke Wilkshire

11. Alex Brosque

12. Dylan Macallister

9. Brett Holman

Substitutes from

18. Michael Turnbull (rgk)

13. Michael Beauchamp

5. Jon McKain (+16′)

8. Ryan Griffiths

16. Michael Thwaite

20. Spase Dilevski

19. Nick Carle

7. Matt McKay

17. Anthony Pelikan

Coach: Frank Farina


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