New Zealand beat Fiji to secure top spot

The Football Ferns took an easy win over Fiji on the final matchday of Group B in the OFC Women’s Nations Cup.

(Fiji – New Zeland 0-10)

Gregorius

Sarah Gregorius scored a hattrick against Fiji, here from the 2016 Rio Olympics (Photo credit: stuff.co.nz)

Perhaps knowing this match would be a loss Fiji Coach Marika Rodu rotated his squad saving many of his best players for the semi-finals. Tom Sermanni also played a few rotation options but still named a strong squad.

As expected the Football Ferns took charge of the match from the first whistle and it only took eight minutes for New Zealand to open the scoring.

Some fine play down on the left ended up with a cross into the Fiji box. That cross found Annalie Longo who turned and shot. Fiji goalkeeper Anaseini Maucuna got a hand to it but couldn’t prevent it from going in.

In the 16th minute, Maucuna came to collect a cross but completely mistimed her jump and didn’t catch the ball. The ball fell to the feet of Sarah Gregorius who tapped it into the open goal.

Eight minutes later Gregorius was at it again. A slow Fijian on the ball was tackled and the veteran striker got the ball. Gregorius sent the ball controlled into the bottom corner.

Then, just before half time it was Longo’s time to get a brace. Katie Rood advanced into the Fiji box and after a little scuffle the ball ended up by Longo who took a touch and extended New Zealand’s lead to 4-0.

In the second half, New Zealand continued their dominance and piled the pressure on Fiji. They got a goal disallowed for an offside only two minutes into the half.

The next goal that was allowed to stand came after 54 minutes when Meikayla Moore rose above everyone else and drilled a header into the net from a corner.

Four minutes later Katie Rood would get her first of the day. A ball was played in low and she calmly slotted it into the far corner.

Just past the hour mark New Zealand had their second goal disallowed for offside as they kept pushing to extend their lead.

After 70 minutes things went from bad to worse for Fiji. A cross was sent in and bounced off defender Mereoni Tora and into her own net. New Zealand were 7-0 up.

Rood would then join Longo and Gregorius with her own brace. She dribbled off a Fijian defender and smashed the ball into the bottom far corner from outside the box.

Substitute Emma Rolston then got her moment in the spotlight when she turned in the box and sent the ball past the keeper.

Gregorius, who had been a little quiet since scoring her two goals, sent New Zealand into double digits when she was played through. Maucuna got to the ball first but mistimed it and the ball went under her. Gregorius jumped over her and put the ball in the open net for her hattrick.

Both sides are still through to the semi-finals though. New Zealand will play New Caledonia on Lifou, while Fiji will take on Papua New Guinea on Maré next week.

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Categories: OFC Women's Nations Cup, Women's Football

Tags: , , , ,

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