8 Aug 2008

Ryan Nelsen says pride in jersey massive

12:21 pm on 8 August 2008

The New Zealand football captain Ryan Nelsen says his 10-man side's 1-1 draw with China is a testament to how much playing for their country means to the OlyWhites.

Their cause looked lost during the first half in Shenyang when defender Steven Old was sent off for a second bookable offence, a seemingly innocuous handball.

But they went ahead through Jeremy Brockie's long range shot 10 minutes into the second half and looked set for an unlikely win until China scored just before full-time.

The hosts created many more scoring chances but Nelsen says the New Zealanders showed great heart, especially after the sending-off, to withstand the Chinese pressure.

Nelsen says he hopes the youngsters made some people back home proud and the referee's call to send Old off was a mistake.

The OlyWhites' next match is against Brazil on Sunday night.

On Thursday the Football Ferns conceded two late goals to draw 2-2 with Japan in Qinhuangdao.