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Adams scores winner for All Whites in PNG

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/06/2016

Defender Luke Adams scored late to earn New Zealand a 1-0 win over the Solomon Islands and top spot in their group heading into the Nations Cup semi-finals.

The All Whites are unbeaten in Port Moresby but received their sternest so far on Saturday, against a Solomon Islands side who also did enough to advance to the knockout stage.

New Zealand's semi-final opponents will be the team who finishes second in the other group, depending on the results of their final round of games. It will be either New Caledonia, Tahiti or Papua New Guinea.

Coach Anthony Hudson was pleased his side had been tested and with the way they responded with patience and discipline.

"You get games like that and I think we were always going to have a period where we didn't have it all our own way," he said.

"We kept our shape and didn't lose our heads. We got our rewards for that in the end.

"They're a good team, probably one of the better teams in the tournament, so it was a good win."

Hudson made seven starting changes from the 5-0 win over Vanuatu and now faces a selection dilemma ahead of Wednesday's semi-final.

One of the new faces was Wellington Phoenix midfielder Matt Ridenton, who was efficient and created the winning goal in the 80th minute. Ridenton shook off the attentions of several defenders before delivering a pin-point cross for Adams to head home his first international goal in just his third All Whites appearance.

Michael McGlinchey captained his country for the first time, with captain Chris Wood missing with a shoulder injury and his expected replacement, Rory Fallon, given a rest.

New Zealand enjoyed plenty of possession but found clear-cut goal-scoring chances hard to come by against a Solomon Islands team content to drop deep and launch the occasional counter-attack.

The winners of the eight-nation tournament will qualify for next year's Confederations Cup in Russia.

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