Saturday 12 November 2016, 04:58

Rojas double ensures perfect start for New Zealand

Goals in each half from forward Marco Rojas ensured New Zealand made a perfect start to the third stage of Oceania qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ on Saturday.

The All Whites were deserved victors in Auckland dominating the Melanesians for a crucial opening win in the abbreviated three-team, four-match group.

New Zealand hit the frame of the goal twice in the first half via Chris Wood and Kosta Barbarouses, before Rojas finally broke the deadlock a few minutes before the break.

Rojas doubled the advantage midway through the second period after acting captain Wood opened up the opportunity with a delightful backheel. Rojas had only netted twice before for the All Whites prior to the match.

New Caledonia enjoyed few sights of goal with perhaps Cesar Zeoula coming closest, with his header narrowly clearing the crossbar.

It will likely be a different sort of contest in three days time in Noumea, with New Caledonia always strong at home and desperately unlucky to lose 1-0 against New Zealand in June’s OFC Nations Cup semi-final.

A loss for New Caledonia on Tuesday would effectively end their hopes, but provide New Zealand with one hand on progression to the two-legged Oceania play-off. Fiji will play commence their Group A matches next year.