November 20, 2007
  Follow @ Twitter

Vanuatu had waited nearly a decade of the return of senior international football to its country and was rewarded for its patience as Port Vila Municipal Stadium hosted an action-packed match replete with drama, excitement, tragedy and heroism.

But it took a winner from substitute David Mulligan deep in injury time to ensure New Zealand escaped Vanuatu with three vital World Cup qualifying points.

Mulligan’s header in the fourth minute of injury time completed a kiwi comeback started by a 53rd minute Shane Smeltz goal that cancelled out Jean Nako Naprapol’s 27th minute shock first half opener.

Down 1-0 at half time, Smeltz’s fourth goal in his last three internationals put New Zealand back on level terms minute of a match where the All Whites’ resolve was tested not only by a fired up home team but by trying playing conditions.

With faces already red from the intense heat, New Zealand were at risk of further blushes after 27 minutes when speedy striker Naprapol latched on to a long ball and had the pace to round an advancing Mark Paston and slot into an empty net for a shock 1-0 lead.

But the All Whites' determination - and ultimately patience - was rewarded with Smeltz's equalizer and Mulligan's late winner.

Both sides carved out a multitude of opportunities with both goalkeepers in extraordinary form, in particular, Chikau Mansale who pulled of a triple save from Shane Smeltz, Tim Brown and Leo Bertos.

Mark Paston responded in kind just a few minutes into the second-half when he stopped a vicious Fenedy Masauvakalo shot from just inside the penalty area then parried a Seule Soromon header away with a lightening quick one-handed save with the New Zealand goal gaping.

Paston might have been in sensational form to halt those attacks but the Wellington
Phoenix goalkeeper knew little about substitute Moise Poida's rasping 18 yard drive off his wrong foot that smacked the face of the New Zealand crossbar before ballooning high to safety for a goal kick.

The action was unrelenting and Chikau Mansale distinguished himself yet again when a rapier-like near post cross from Leo Bertos saw the Tapuji FC goalkeeper fling himself headlong at Duncan Oughton to pluck the ball off the Columbus Crew midfielder's head.

It was a sensational save by Mansale but in executing one of matches most acrobatic plays, Mansale injured himself, rising only to overarm the ball into the crowd before crumpling to the deck in agony.

Vanuatu coach Robert Calvo had no choice and sent on Mansale's uncle and former Vanuatu number one, David Chilia, who poised to kiss his fallen nephew on the cheek as he raced on to help his team in its most dire moment. It was a telling moment as Chilia at first delivered an authoritative performance that slowly deteriorated as the Kiwis grew in belief that they might yet, somehow, achieve what at one stage appeared an unlikely victory.

Mansale's injury was worth five minutes time added on to referee Job Ponis Minan and so it proved long enough for New Zealand to seal the win and break Vanuatu hearts in the process. A deep cross to the far post from James Pritchett saw Chilia race off his line, flap hopelessly at the ball, only for it to evade the Tafea FC number one before falling kindly to the unmarked David Mulligan to cushion an unimpeded header into the back of the net and the New Zealanders into a frenzy of celebration as Port Vila Municipal Stadium went into a state of stunned silence.

In the competition’s other match Fiji and New Caledonia shared a six-goal thriller before a capacity crowd at Govind Park in Ba. Youngheart Manawatu striker Osea Vakatalesau scored twice and was helped by Valerio Nawatu who opened the scoring after just two minutes.

But New Caledonia staged a stirring comeback with coach Didier Chambaron making an inspired substitution when Male Kaudre scored after 83 minutes and then veteran striker Michel Hmae leveled the match on 87 minutes thus negating a Vakatalesau goal on 86 minutes. Ramon Gjamaci had earlier pulled a goal back for the South Pacific Games gold medalists on 66 minutes.

New Zealand now have two wins from two away matches with Fiji and Vanuatu’s hopes of progressing to the FIFA Confederations Cup – South Africa 2009 and Stage 3 of the OFC/AFC 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Qualifier playoffs taking a significant dent. New Caledonia now emerge as New Zealand’s most likely obstacle for a berth in the next round.

For all the latest news, statistics, photographs and information on the OFC Nations Cup/2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Qualifiers Oceanian Zone please visit:

OFC Nations Cup/2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Qualifier

Vanuatu vs. New Zealand
At Port Vila Municipal Stadium
Port Vila
Vanuatu
Attendance: 8,000

VAN: 20. Chikau MANSALE (GK) 1. David CHILIA 68'); 3. Jacques MAFIL NAWAN; 5. Fedy VAVA (c); 6. Ken MASAVAKAULO; 9. Jean Nako NAPRAPOL; 10. Seule SOROMON; 12. Fenedy MASAVAKAULO; 14. Pita David MAKI (7. Moise POIDA 68'); 16. Alphonse Welin QORIG; 17. Geoffrey Lego GETE; 18. Hubert NAKE (2. Andrew CHICHIRUA 50').

SUBS: 4. Ephraim KALORIB; 11. Rickson TARI; 19. Derek MALAS; 21. Jean Robert YELOU.

Coach: Robert CALVO (VAN)

Yellow Cards: 17. Geoffrey Lego GETE 70'.

Red Cards: None

Goals: 9. Jean Nako NAPRAPOL 26'
NZL: 1. Mark PASTON; 3. Tony LOCHHEAD; 5. Andy BOYENS; 7. Ivan VICELICH (4. David MULLIGAN 71'); 8. Tim BROWN; 9. Shane SMELTZ (19. Daniel ELLENSOHN 84'); 11. Leo BERTOS; 12. James PRITCHETT; 14. Chris JAMES (Jarrod SMITH 68'); 15. Ben SIGMUND; 16. Duncan OUGHTON.

SUBS: 2. Jeremy CHRISTIE; 17. Jeff CAMPBELL 18. Jacob SPOONLEY (RGK).
Coach: Ricki HERBERT
Yellow Cards: Tim BROWN 69'
Red Cards: None
Goals: 9. Shane SMELTZ 84', 4. David MULLIGAN 94'.
REFEREE: Job Ponis MINAN (PNG)
ASSISTANT REFEREE: Teariki GOODWIN (COK)
ASSISTANT REFEREE: Hilary ANI (PNG)
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Joakim Salaiau SOSONGAN (PNG)
OFC Nations Cup/2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Qualifier
Fiji vs. New Caledonia
At Govind Park
Ba
Fiji
Attendance: 10,000

FIJ: 1. Shamal KUMAR; 3. Eesava MAQEELA; 4. Apisalome TUVURA; 8. Pita BALEITOGA (5. Ronil KUMAR 75’); 9. Valerio NAWATU; 10. Osea VAKATAKESAU; 11. Pita RABO; 12. Peni FINAU; 13. Taniela WAQA; 14. Roy KRISHNA; 17. Malakai KAINEHEWE.

SUBS: 2. Pene ERENIO; 6. Jone VESIKULA; 7. Maciu DUNADAMU; 15 Tuimasi MANUCA; 20. Benaminio MATEINAQARA.
Coach: Juan Carlos BUZZETTI
Yellow Cards: 12. Peni FINAU 60’
Red Cards: None

Goals: 9. Valerio NAWATU 2’; 10. Osea VAKATALESAU 27’, 86’.
NCL: 1. Marc OUNEMOA; 3. Georges WADENGES; 4. Adolph BOAOUTHO; 5. Jean Patrick WAKANUMUNE (17. Patrick DIAIKE 39’); 6. Benjamin LONGUE; 7. Andre SINEDO; 8. Fabien SARIDJAN (15.Jean WENESSIA 80’); 9. Johan MERCIER; 12. Michel HMAE; 13. Ramon GJAMACI (11. Mael KAUDRE 70’); 16. Marius MAKO.
SUBS: 9. Marius MAPOU; 14. Robert KAUDRE; 18. Jean Yann DOUNEZEK.
Coach: Didier CHAMBARON
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
Goals: 13. Ramon GJAMACI 66’; 11. Mael KAUDRE 83’; 12. Michel HMAE 87’)
REFEREE: Peter O’LEARY (NZL)
ASSISTANT REFEREE: Brent BEST (NZL)
ASSISTANT REFEREE: Matthew TARO (SOL)


NEXT FIXTURES:
21st NOVEMBER - New Zealand vs. Vanuatu
21st NOVEMBER - New Caledonia vs. Fiji


OFC Nations Cup/2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Qualifiers

Teams PL. W. D. L. GF. GA. PTS. GD.

New Zealand 2 2 0 0 4 1 6 +3
New Caledonia 1 0 1 0 3 3 1 0
Fiji 2 0 1 1 3 5 1 -2
Vanuatu 1 0 0 1 1 2 0 -1


FijiLive

Wiggle

PREVIOUS STORY
Japan to test goal-line technology
NEXT STORY
Modise the hero as SAfrica triumph

Post a Comment
Bookmark and Share

 


Posted Comments

 


 






SPORTS
Matarerega returns for Nadi
Rusiate Matarerega returns to beef up Nadi's strike force ahead of the forthcoming Inkk Mobile Battle of Giants tournament.
RUGBY
Fiji beat Kenya, win Olympic bronze
Fiji 7s defeated Kenya 12-0 to claim bronze in the men's rugby sevens competition at the China Youth Olympic Games.
FIJI NEWS
262 nominations filed for election
The Fiji Elections Office has received a total of 262 candidate nominations for the September 17 general election.
HEALTH/FITNESS
Chavez in Venezuela after cancer surgery
President Hugo Chavez surprised and in many cases delighted Venezuelans by returning home on Monday, albeit to an uncertain future, ending a more than two-month absence in Cuba for cancer treatment.
ENTERTAINMENT
Afghan street kid heads for the Oscars red carpet
An Afghan street kid is off to Hollywood and the red-carpet treatment at the Oscars -- a fairytale ending to a chance encounter that led to a starring role in a movie.
TECHNOLOGY
Apple hit by hackers
Apple on Tuesday said it was hit by hackers who wormed their way into the California company's system but evidently failed to steal any data.
NEWS SPORTS INFOTAINMENT SERVICES MOBILE EXTRA HOT TOPICS