5 Jun 2012

Sport: NZ first through to Nations Cup semis, PNG out

10:29 am on 5 June 2012

New Zealand has booked its place in the semi finals of the Oceania Nations Cup after beating Papua New Guinea 2-1 in Honiara.

The All Whites' second victory also seals qualification for the final stage of Oceania World Cup qualifying later this year, after Group B rivals Fiji and Solomon Islands played out a scoreless draw.

Shane Smeltz headed home the opening goal in just the second minute and also supplied the assist for Chris Wood just after half-time.

Papua New Guinea scored a late penalty but coach Frank Farina says they just couldn't finish off enough opportunities.

"That's the way we've been playing in our preparation but unfortunately we didn't play as well as we could in the first game - that's life and that's football."

Today we played extremely well and created some good chances against a good side. You have to take those chances and we didn't today.

Two more semi final places will be decided on Tuesday with Tahiti holding the upper hand in Group A.

They have six points from two matches and a draw against Vanuatu will be enough to secure their passage to the final four, although a superior goal differential means even a loss should be enough.

New Caledonia, who face Samoa in the earlier game, are tied on three points with Vanuatu.