25 Apr 2009

NZ into under-17 FIFA World Cup

8:40 am on 25 April 2009

New Zealand have booked their place at the FIFA under-17 football World Cup in Nigeria with a 2-0 win over Tahiti in the Oceania championship at North Harbour Stadium, despite playing half the match a man down.

Zane Sole's header from a 28th minute corner, followed quickly by Andrew Milne's third goal in as many games, put New Zealand firmly in control of a match they had to win to overtake Tahiti, who started top on goal difference.

Two yellow cards - and an early exit for the influential midfielder Jack Hobson-McVeigh - threatened to derail New Zealand's campaign.

But coach Steve Cain says his side showed a maturity beyond their years and played with discipline and composure in the second half.

Earlier New Caledonia beat Vanuatu 1-0 to finish third.