Words: ACFC Media
Friday 27 September 2019
Picture: OFC Media via Phototek
SUVA, Fiji - New Zealand U-23 kept their Olympic dream alive with an exciting 4-2 win over the Solomon Islands at ANZ Stadium with Navy Blues striker Myer Bevan continuing his run of goalscoring form.
The Solomon Islands charged out of the blocks to take the lead in the opening minute, Patrick Taroga tapping home from close range past Cameron Brown to spark wild scenes of celebration from the Solomon players.
New Zealand soon began to exert their control on proceedings though and were 2-1 in front by the break, former Navy Blues midfielder Clayton Lewis equalising with a fine strike from outside the box before Myer Bevan controlled a Lewis pass and hammered home.
GOAL! Myer Bevan puts New Zealand 2-1 up
GOAL NZL !!!! NZL 2-1 SOL https://t.co/7unybsvPuE— OFC Oceania Football (@OFCfootball) September 27, 2019
Buckingham then had a two-goal cushion to play with soon after half-time when Noah Billingsley headed in a free kick but the Solomons refused to lie down and were back in the contest with just over ten minutes remaining, Tuita Maeobia arrowing a stunning effort into the top corner to make it 3-2.
Batram Suri’s side would have hoped to press on from there and find an equaliser but it was New Zealand who struck next, Bevan calmly slotting home his eighth goal of the campaign in stoppage time to finally make sure of the points.
GOAL! Myer Bevan scores New Zealand's fourth
GOAL NZL !!!! NZL 4-2 SOL https://t.co/8JMtlD1YC7— OFC Oceania Football (@OFCfootball) September 27, 2019
New Zealand's next match is on 2 October against either Fiji or Vanuatu who face each other in their final group game tomorrow.
OFC Men's Olympic Football Tournament Qualifiers
Friday 27 September 2019
New Zealand 4 (Clayton LEWIS 37', Myer BEVAN 39', 90', Noah BILLINGSLEY 53')
Solomon Islands (Patrick TAROGA 1', Tuita MAEOBIA 78')
NZL: 1. Cameron BROWN (GK), 6. Dane SCHNELL, 7. Myer BEVAN, 9. Logan ROGERSON [c], 10. Clayton LEWIS, 13. liberato CACACE (3. Dylan DE JONG 46'), 14. Billy JONES, 15. Sean LIDDICOAT, 16. Gianni STENSNESS (11. Ollie WHYTE 63'), 18. Ben WAINE, 19. Noah BILLINGSLEY (17. Callan ELLIOT 81').
SUBS NOT USED: 2. Jordan SPAIN, 4. Hunter ASHWORTH, 5. Robert TIPELU, 8. Jake PORTER, 12. Conor TRACEY (GK), 20. Alex PAULSEN (GK).
COACH: Des BUCKINGHAM.
STANDINGS | Here is the Group A table after the final match day in Suva. Congratulations to group winners New Zealand and runners-up Solomon Islands for qualifying for next week's semis in Lautoka.pic.twitter.com/zwa9THzbSf— OFC Oceania Football (@OFCfootball) September 27, 2019