10 Oct 2017

NZ under 17s undone by Paraguay

6:39 am on 10 October 2017

The New Zealand under 17 men's football side has been beaten 4-2 by Paraguay in their second pool game at the World Cup in India.

NZ Football under-17 coach Danny Hay.

NZ Football under-17 coach Danny Hay. Photo: NZ Football

Coach Danny Hay was without the services of Max Mata due to suspension and, in the absence of his influential skipper, the captain's arm band went to Elijah Just. The sizeable void left by Mata was filled by Willem Ebbinge while Joshua Rogerson slotted into the back four in place of Ben Deeley in the only other change from the line-up that drew 1-1 with Turkey.

Paraguay opened the scoring after 2 minutes, but it was New Zealand that led at half time thanks to two own goals by the South Americans.

Paraguay didn't go in front until late in the game.

Hay says they're bitterly disappointed not to have picked up the three points....

"It was vital for us to guarantee that we would get through to the next round. The spirit and the work ethic and the attitude of the players I can't fault. They've given everything they possibly could, it's just one of those things. We rolled the dice at the end obviously and kept the men forward and conceded that last goal but look I can't fault the spirit and they should be proud of themselves."

Paraguay top the group with two wins, Mali has one win and New Zealand and Turkey have a single point from their draw.

New Zealand's last pool game is against Mali on Thursday night.