New Zealand defeated Fiji 4-1 in their second Group B match and progressed for the semi-finals at the OFC Under 16 Women’s Championship at the Stade Pater in Papeete, Tahiti on Monday evening.
The breakthrough for New Zealand came in the 27th minute when Pia Vlok played a lovely through ball for Laura Bennett to run on to and out sprint the defence and fire to the left of Rosalain Sarahphina in the Fiji goal.
A minute later New Zealand almost doubled their lead when Natalie Young fired an audacious shot from wide out against the crossbar.
Fiji continued to threaten while the likes of Shania Singh and Sisilia Kuladina didn’t allow the Kiwi defence to get comfortable.
Ella Jerez doubled the lead for New Zealand from a free kick floated in by Vlok which Sarahphina fumbled allowing Jerez to tap into an empty goalmouth for a 2-0 lead at the break.
The Angeline Chua coached Junior Kulas tried fighting back in the match but the Kiwis kept their strong dominance in the encounter.
Natalie Young brought the Kiwi crowd to their feet after beating Sarahphina at the near post with a powerful right-foot shot.
Two minutes later, New Zealand was awarded a penalty when Young was fouled inside the penalty box.
Vlok took the penalty and slammed into the left side of the net for a 4-0 lead in the 52nd minute.
In the 74th minute, Fiji breathed some life when Caroline Qalivere smashed the loose ball into the back of the net following a free kick outside the New Zealand penalty box.
The Fijians had another chance to narrow the gap six minutes from time but Elesi Tabunase sliced the ball just wide.
Fiji faces Cook Islands in their next group match on Thursday.