June 9, 2023

New Zealand see off sturdy Cook Islands to qualify for Semi Final

The Cook Islands fought well but were no match for New Zealand.

The Cook Islands fought well but were no match for New Zealand who secured a spot in the Semi Final with one game to go.

(New Zealand – Cook Islands 6-0)

New Zealand had plenty to celebrate about against the Cook Islands, here from the game against Tonga (Photo credit: Avikash Chand / OFC Media)

Marjorie Toru was the best Cook Islands player as the goalkeeper saved several big New Zealand chances. But she couldn’t keep the Football Ferns at bay forever.

13 minutes it took for New Zealand to score. Annalie Longo picked up a loose ball after a free kick, turned and hit the ball into the bottom corner.

Just two minutes later the second New Zealand goal would come. A free kick was floated in to the feet of Anna Green who passed it back to Emma Rolston who could just tap it into the goal.

Toru and the rest of the Cook Islands defence did a heroic job to keep New Zealand from scoring more, but just as it looked like they would get to half time only 2-0 down, New Zealand struck again. A cross from Ali Riley found Rolston who headed it in via the underside of the crossbar. There was nothing Toru could do about that, no matter how good she had been.

In the second half, the same script continued with New Zealand having possession and the Cook Islands defending.

As the game passed the hour mark the score was still the same. But then Katie Rood showed up. From way out, she got around Liz Harmon and sent a shot flying into the top corner.

At the end of the game, the Cook Islands players grew tired and New Zealand managed to get two in added time.

First Sarah Morton popped up on the back post to score from a cross. All the Cooks defenders were caught ball watching and Morton had an easy task.

Then in the final minute of added time, Morton hit the crossbar and the rebound fell to Grace Jale who only had to tap it in.

That means that New Zealand will play Fiji to decide who will sit top of the group, while the Cook Islands will play Tonga to see who ends last.

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