October 1, 2023

New Zealand reach double digits against Tonga in blowout Group B opener

New Zealand wasted no time in showing their intentions for the OFC Women’s Nations Cup.

New Zealand wasted no time in showing their intentions for the OFC Women’s Nations Cup by putting Tonga in their place in the opening match in Group B.

 (New Zealand – Tonga 11-0)

Sarah Gregorius got herself a hattrick against Tonga, here from a friendly against Japan earlier this year (Photo credit: Stuff.co.nz)

A great first half from the Football Ferns put the groundwork for their win over Tonga, who despite their best efforts, couldn’t keep the Kiwi tidal wave at bay.

New Zealand dominated early possession and Rosie White hit the crossbar from a header after only five minutes.

White then opened the scoring three minutes later, in the eight minute, and Annalie Longo added a second just a minute after that.

Longo scored her second in the 13th minute to give New Zealand a 3-0 lead, and a minute after that again White showed up to get her own brace.

The Ferns then calmed down a little in their goal rush and Tonga managed to clear off what came thanks to defenders Fifi Moala and Toloini Kofutu’a and some excellent saves from goalkeeper Carollyne Fotu.

Betsy Hassett was the next Kiwi to put her name on the scoresheet as she did so in the 34thand 35th minute.

31-year-old Sarah Gregorius joined Hassett and the others on the brace-list in the 37th and 39th minute.

That meant New Zealand took a very comfortable 8-0 lead into the lockers.

The last one to get a brace would be the first to get a hattrick over in the second half. Gregorius popped up just six minutes after the restart and claimed her third of the day.

Defender Ria Gregorius added her name to the scoresheet in the 67th minute as she scored one-on-one with Fotu after a set piece.

And the day would get worse for goalkeeper Fotu. After an overall decent game everything considered, she made a mistake two minutes before full time that allowed substitute debutant Grace Jale to put the ball in the back of the net.

That meant New Zealand ran out 11-0 winners and Tom Sermanni and his girls got a perfect start to the OFC Women’s Nations Cup. Tonga will have to dust themselves off and pick up the pieces before their next game.

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