Words: ACFC Media
Sunday 22 September 2019
Picture: OFC Media via Phototek
SUVA, Fiji - The OFC Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament got underway in Fiji with Auckland City FC representation amid the action.
Goalkeeper Cam Brown and striker Myer Bevan both started for New Zealand U-23 against Samoa while Brown's fellow shot-stopper and Navy Blue glove colleague Conor Tracey was on the bench.
The side was bolstered by the return of another former Navy Blue stalwart in Clayton Lewis. The side was skippered by Logan Rogerson.
TWITTER - OFC Men's Olympic Football Tournament Qualifiers - Standings
Samoa put up scant resistance as New Zealand raced into an early lead through Ben Waine. Rogerson added a second when he nodded home a cross from the left and Bevan added a third half an hour later.
Michael Tumua Leo pulled one back for Samoa just before the halftime break but Waine restored the three goal buffer seven minutes after the restart.
New Zealand scored two more goals, one for Ollie Whyte and the other for Waine to complete his hat-trick.
GOAL! - Myer Bevan slots New Zealand's third goal
Myer BEVAN claims the 3rd for NZL SAM 0-3 NZLhttps://t.co/uyGJqRT23r— OFC Oceania Football (@OFCfootball) September 21, 2019
New Zealand is in Group A alongside Solomon Islands, American Samoa and Samoa and qualification for the semi-finals should be a straightforward task for coach Des Buckingham's team.
In Group B, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Tonga feature next to host nation Fiji in Lautoka. The top two teams in each section advance to the last four with the winners moving on to the final on Saturday 5 October 2019.
The winner of that match qualifies for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games Men's football tournament in Tokyo, Japan. New Zealand's next match is on September 24, 2019, when they take on American Samoa.
GOAL! New Zealand skipper Logan Rogerson doubles his team's advantage
GOAL NZL Captain makes it 2 for for the Kiwis SAM 0-2 NZL https://t.co/vSvjf59pem— OFC Oceania Football (@OFCfootball) September 21, 2019
SAVE! Cameron Brown with a top save against Samoa
Great save by BROWN SAM 0-2 NZL https://t.co/PbXHouUJCv— OFC Oceania Football (@OFCfootball) September 21, 2019
OFC Men's Olympic Football Tournament Qualifiers
Saturday 21 September 2019
Samoa 1 (Michael TUMUA LEO 40')
New Zealand 6 (Ben WAINE 10', 52', 80', Myer BEVAN 39', Logan ROGERSON 11', Ollie WHYTE 84')
NZL: 1. Cameron BROWN (GK) (20. Alex PAULSEN (GK) 69'); 6. Dane SCHNELL, 7. Myer BEVAN (11. Ollie WHYTE 63'), 9. Logan ROGERSON [c](8. Jake PORTER 65'), 10. Clayton LEWIS, 13. Liberato CACACE, 14. Billy JONES, 15. Sean LIDDICOAT, 16. Gianni STENSNESSS, 17. Callan ELLIOT, 18. Ben WAINE.
SUBS NOT USED: 2. Jordan SPAIN, 3. Dylan DE JONG, 4. Hunter ASHWORTH, 5. Robert TIPELU, 12. Conor TRACEY (GK), 19. Noah BILLINGSLEY.
COACH: Des BUCKINGHAM.
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium