All Whites captain Chris Wood completes hat-trick, helps New Zealand to get a very comfortable advantage over Solomon Islands before the second leg in Honiara.
In the first leg of the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers OFC Stage 3 Final in Auckland New Zealand secured itself a very convincing advantage for the second game with Solomon Islands, winning 6-1 in quite a one-sided game.
New Zealand took a very comfortable 3-0 lead in the first half, and continued to dominate the game when players got back on the field from the dressing rooms.
All Whites captain Chris Wood, recently signed by Burnley, scored twice before half-time and completed the hat-trick with a well-placed free kick close to the end of the game.
Solomon Islands managed to score its first and only goal of the game when Benjamin Totori led the counter attack and earned a penalty. Solomons captain Henry Fa’arodo made no mistake from the spot in 53d minute of the game, reducing the deficit to 3-1.
However New Zealand responded with a goal very quickly – delivery from Monty Patterson was finished by Ryan Thomas in the 55th minute. During the last ten minutes of the game New Zealand scored two more goals turning the second leg in Honiara into the formality.
Solomon Islands coach Felipe Vega-Arango Alonso said his ‘amateur team’ was beaten by professionals, who were ‘much better’.
“We’re an amateur team, they are professional. 6-1, it could have been 9-1. I’m not afraid to admit it, because I think Philip Mango made some really good saves.
“Right after the penalty they scored another goal in another defensive mistake and I think the game was over right there to be honest with you.
“I mean New Zealand was superior than us and not much to say, we lost and they win, this is football.
“The gap between two teams is pretty easy to see, like the gap between Oceania football and European football is easier to see as well, so it is what it is,” Felipe Vega-Arango Alonso said.
All Whites coach Anthony Hudson was unsurprisingly happy with his team’s performance.
“I was happy with the score line, disappointed with penalty as I thought we could have avoided that, but overall pleased with the performance,” he said.
“I thought the team passed the ball really well, I thought there were periods where they played really good football and I think with little tweaks we could be even more dangerous attacking. I think we let them off the hook a few times tonight.
“But I’m being ultra-critical. I think the boys did well, they were first-class tonight. To be honest I won’t be celebrating or satisfied until we get to November and we are seriously in with a shout.”