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All Whites crush Vanuatu at Nations Cup

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 31/05/2016

New Zealand have stamped their mark on the Nations Cup in Port Moresby with a 5-0 drubbing of Vanuatu which guarantees progress towards World Cup qualification.

The All Whites were 4-0 up inside the first 20 minutes before stepping down a gear for the remainder of the game.

Captain Chris Wood bagged the first two before five minutes had ticked over but had to exit soon afterwards with an injury to his left shoulder. The Leeds United striker was later sporting a sling, leaving his fitness for the remainder of the tournament in doubt.

His replacement, Kosta Barbarouses, was a constant menace and was one of the three remaining goalscorers, along with Michael McGlinchey and Rory Fallon, who took over the captaincy.

Following their opening 3-1 win over Fiji, New Zealand are guaranteed a place in the semi-finals of the eight-team tournament which determines Oceania's representatives at next year's Confederations Cup.

Also, the top-six teams will contest the third phase of World Cup qualifying.

New Zealand are assured of doing that, regardless the result of their final pool game against Solomon Islands on Saturday.

Coach Anthony Hudson made one starting change, introducing fit-again Michael McGlinchey in place of midfielder Monty Patterson.

Hudson resisted the urge to start Kosta Barbarouses or Marco Rojas, although both had decent time off the bench.

Jeremy Brockie and Michael Boxall weren't used after both arrived earlier on Tuesday following club commitments in South Africa.

They weren't needed against a Vanuatu side who were capable in possession but inept at times on defence, particularly early on.

They failed to clear a long throw-in from Bill Tuiloma which allowed Wood a simple tap-in. The skipper finished clinically a minute later when latching onto a wayward back pass.

McGlinchey curled a free kick home on 10 minutes while Fallon finished cleverly when put clear soon afterwards.

Barbarouses scored from an acute angle past goalkeeper Seiloni Iaruel on the stroke of halftime but New Zealand failed to produce the same precision in the second spell, despite creating numerous chances on the break.

Vanuatu's best chances came late in the first half when they were denied two tight penalty shouts and midfielder Kensi Tangis went close with two rifling shots.

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