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All Whites beat Fiji 3-1

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/05/2016

The All Whites have opened their Oceania Nations Cup soccer campaign with a 3-1 win over Fiji in Papua New Guinea.

Goals from Themi Tzimopoulos and Rory Fallon put the tournament favourites up 2-0 in Port Moresby before Fiji skipper Roy Krishna closed the margin just before halftime with a penalty.

New Zealand's third goal on the hour mark also came from the spot, with captain Chris Wood converting the chance.

All Whites coach Anthony Hudson handed out debut caps to defenders Luke Adams and Kip Colvey, and midfielders Monty Patterson and Luka Prelevic.

New Zealand hit the front in the 16th minute on Saturday through Tzimopoulos's first international goal, with the defender stabbing home from close range after a goalmouth scramble.

Five minutes from halftime, the All Whites made it 2-0 through Fallon, who had earlier hit the top of the crossbar with a lobbed shot from out wide.

A defensive error in the Fiji box led to a hurried clearance that ricocheted off Fallon and into the net.

New Zealand looked to be cruising but Fiji struck back through danger man Krishna, who had been their main attacking focus with his pace up front.

The Wellington Phoenix striker turned creator when his pass found Setareki Hughes, who was brought down in the box by Sam Brotherton.

Krishna stepped up to convert the penalty with last kick of the opening half.

The All Whites regained their two-goal margin after a Fallon shot bounced off Krishna's right arm in the box.

Keeper Simione Tamanisau got to Wood's penalty kick but couldn't keep the ball out.

Fiji's coach, Australian Frank Farina, was not at the match because he didn't have a PNG visa and had to get back on the plane.

He is expected to be pitch-side for Fiji's next pool match against the Solomon Islands on Tuesday, when New Zealand face Vanuatu.

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