OFC World Cup qualifiers: Round 2 roundup

Here’s the recap from the second round of OFC World Cup qualifiers.

Papua New Guinea’s Koriak Upaiga in a challenge with New Zealand’s Andre De Jong at the OFC World Cup Qualifiers in Qatar March 2022. Photo: OFC Media

The matches between the teams in Group A were called off following Vanuatu’s withdrawal and the Cook Islands covid outbreak.

That left only two matches to be played in Group B.

Game 1: Papua New Guinea – New Caledonia 1-0

A close game where an early Tommy Semmy goal proved the decider.

Semmy sent a shot off from range and it was deflected by a New Caledonian defender and became uncatchable for Mickael Ulile in the New Caledonia goal.

Then several good New Caledonia chances followed, but the final shot was either not good enough or cleared off the line by scrambling Papua New Guinean defenders.

In the second half both teams had several chances to score, but no more goals came.

And with two minutes left of regular time Jean-Luc Decoire got himself sent off for what seems like words exchanged with the assistant referee during a break in play after a penalty call from New Caledonia.

Watch the highlights here:

Game 2: New Zealand – Fiji 4-0

The match was dominated by New Zealand, and saw Fiji almost hold on for a long time in the first half, despite several close calls.

But just before half time the Fiji defense fell asleep and allowed Chris Wood a free header at the back post from a free kick. The Newcastle striker made no mistake and headed the ball into the back of the net.

In the second half New Zealand kept the pressure up and following a corner the ball fell kindly to substitute Elijah Just, who turned and smashed the ball into the top corner from five meters out.

Only a minute later Chris Wood became historic as the all time leading New Zealand’s men’s top scorer, when he broke free from the Fiji defense and slotted the ball home in the far corner.

A mniute into the added time Fiji goalkeeper Mohammed Alam went out to catch a ball, but in the process put his studs up and appeared to catch Logan Rogerson in the side of the body. The referee gave a penalty and Clayton Lewis slotted it home to finalize the scoreline.