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All Whites down PNG on penalties

NZN 11/06/2016

New Zealand have ended their horror Nations Cup run with a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby.

The win earns New Zealand entry into 2017's Confederations Cup for the first time since 2009, a vital step in their ultimate goal of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Goalless after 90 minutes of regular time and 30 minutes of extra time on Saturday, New Zealand finally managed to put the ball in the net from the penalty spot.

Stand-in skipper Rory Fallon scored first, while All Whites keeper Stefan Marinovic saved Koriak Upaiga's strike for Papua New Guinea.

Michael McGlinchey and Moses Dyer also converted for the Kiwis, but Jeremy Brockie's miss put PNG back on even terms.

However, Raymond Gunemba hit the post to let New Zealand back in, and Marco Rojas wrapped up the win with the final spot-kick.

Playing with the wind at their backs, the All Whites relied heavily on pumping the long ball upfield in a physical first half.

There was little to show for it by halftime, with New Zealand looking most likely to score off the end of Bill Tuiloma's long-range throws.

Papua New Guinea had their chances, particularly on the counterattack, and Nigel Dabingyaba forced a good save from Marinovic as 40 minutes ticked over.

Papua New Guinea began the second half brightly, with Tommy Semmy showing too much pace for Michael Boxall on the left before he was brought down.

The free kick amounted to nothing, and normal service was resumed as the All Whites looked long with little variation and no success.

A 60th-minute Michael McGlinchey free kick found Fallon on the far post, but his nod down was cleared off the line.

New Zealand had conceded only one goal and scored 10 on their way to the final, but lacked the creativity and accuracy needed to unlock the stubborn PNG defence, and the game drifted inexorably into extra time, then penalties.

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