1 Sep 2017

All Whites crush Solomon Is 6-1 in first tie match

9:52 pm on 1 September 2017

The All Whites have put on a master class in attacking-football, beating the Solomon Islands six-one in the first leg of their World Cup qualifying tie at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland.

All Whites player Ryan Thomas celebrates his goal with team mates.

All Whites player Ryan Thomas celebrates his goal with team mates. Photo: Photosport NZ

New Zealand are in the box seat now to move through to the next round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The first fifteen minutes was the All Whites' scratchiest in the game as they tried to work out the Solomon Islands' defensive strategy but it didn't take long before cracks began to show.

The All Whites pressed hard from the outset and were rewarded for it in the 17th minute when captain Chris Wood opened the scoring.

Wood's opening goal came from a deflection when midfielder Ryan Thomas took a shot at goal from outside the box. The ball cannoned off a Solomon Islands defender only to fall right at Wood's feet, then the back of the net.

Wood had no trouble sneaking it past the goal keeper in the first half. The Burnley striker scored the All Whites' second goal after he and Thomas linked up again from 40 yards out.

The 25-year-old Wood produced a touch of magic, chipping the ball over the Solomon Islands keeper's head from outside the box to give the All Whites a two-nil lead after just 35 minutes.

The score could've blown out to as much as five-nil early in the first half as the All Whites pressed hard on the Solomon Islands' struggling defensive line, however wingers Monty Patterson and Deklan Wynne, despite their best efforts, struggled to link with Wood and fellow striker Kosta Barbarouses.

Barbabouses did have some luck in the first half though when one of the Solomon Islands' defenders fluffed a clearance out of their own box. The All Whites striker pounced, putting the ball in the right hand corner of the net to take a three-nil lead into the second half.

The Solomon Islands' chances were limited in the first half due to their game plan of playing deep defence.

The visitors had one genuine chance with a quick ball off a free kick just 30 yards out but the shot on goal was easily picked up by All Whites goal keeper Stefan Marinovic.

The second half got off to a similar start to the first with the All Whites pressing hard on the Solomon Islands' defence.

However, the only goal came from a penalty kick when defender when All Whites defender Deklan Wynne brought down Solomon Island's striker Benjamin Totori in the box.

Captain Henry Fa'arodo had no trouble getting past Marinovic from the penalty spot, giving the Solomon Islands an all important away goal.

The celebrations didn't last long for the Solomon Islands though. Just three minutes later midfielder Ryan Thomas finally got his name on the score sheet when he produced a lovely one-touch finish.

It took nearly another 20 minutes before the All Whites ticked the scoreboard over once more.

New Zealand midfielder Michael McGlinchey produced one of the moments of the night when he scored a beautiful goal from a free kick just two yards outside the box.

McGlinchey went from hero to villain almost instantly though when he was yellow-carded for going studs up into a Solomon Islands player's leg while challenging for a ball.

He wasn't the only player to lose his patience in the closing stages of the match, the Solomon Islands continued to give away free kicks right out in front.

Chris Wood took full advantage, scoring his third and final goal in similar fashion to McGlinchey in extra time.

The two sides now head to Honiara for the return leg of the tie, the winner will then face the fifth-best South American team from the Concacaf Cup for the final spot at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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