VIDEO - Navy Blues in action in Qatar

Words: ACFC Media

Saturday 19 March 2022

Picture: Phototek

Doha, QATAR - The Oceania FIFA World Cup Qualifiers are well underway in Qatar with a raft of current and former Auckland City FC players taking to the international stage. 

No less than ten former or current Auckland City FC players were involved in the current news cycle in Doha with another - David Browne - denting Papua New Guinea's hopes after red tape stymied his hopes of appearing.

Below you can read the match summaries or you can skip to the bottom of the page and watch each of the three qualifiers As Live courtesy of the Oceania Football Confederation. 

Group A - Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Vanuatu

Covid-19 rocked the start of the competition with Brian Kaltack's Vanuatu unable to field a team due a high number of returned positive tests.

This meant their opening game with Tahiti was unable to go ahead, an ominous sign with the tournament in its infancy.

Despite this setback there was action on the pitch in this section when the fleet footed and skilful Micah Lea'alafa captained the Solomon Islands to an important 2-0 win over the Cook Islands at the magnificent Grand Hamad Stadium.

Atkin Kaua and Alwin Hou were the scorers for Lea'alafa's team while another former Navy Blues hero, the Cook Islands Maro Bonsu-Maro, remained an unused substitute for coach Alan Taylor.

Group B - Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea

In Group B, New Zealand's campaign got off to a shaky but winning start after they defeated Papua New Guinea 1-0 courtesy of a goal by substitute Ben Waine.

Auckland City FC skipper Cam Howieson earned his 14th international cap lining up in midfield alongside Clayton Lewis.

Oli Sail, a former Navy Blues goalkeeper, made his international debut, while there were also caps for other former Kiwitea Street favourites with Dalton Wilkins, former Junior Navy Blues defender Nikko Boxall.

Logan Rogerson, Auckland City FC's top scorer in the last ever edition of the ISPS Handa Premiership, entered the match with 13 minutes to play and saw a diving header crash off the Papua New Guinea crossbar late on.

David Browne, who plays his trade in Finland, was not named in Papua New Guinea's squad due to ongoing issues with paperwork that have seemingly scuppered a smooth experience to his international ambitions.

In other action, Fiji caused something of a minor upset when they defeated New Caledonia by 2-1.

Fijian legend Roy Krishna, now 34 years old, showed no sign of slowing day with an influential performance alongside exciting up and comer Sairusi Nalabau.

Nalabau gave Fiji an early lead but that was cancelled out by Jordan Wetria's equaliser 12 minutes from the end.

But Nalabau, Krishna and Fiji were not to be denied in the Suhaim Bin Hamada Stadium with Nalabau's last gasp winner enough to give Danish coach Flemming Seretslev an important 2-1 victory.



Current and former Auckland City FC players in summary

Fiji - Roy Krishna
New Zealand - Oliver Sail, Nikko Boxall, Dalton Wilkins, Cameron Howieson, Clayton Lewis, Logan Rogerson
Vanuatu - Brian Kaltack
Solomon Islands - Micah Lea'alafa
Papua New Guinea - David Browne (not with squad)
Cook Islands - Maro Bonsu-Maro (unused substitute)

Next Round of Action

The next round of action in Group A sees Cook Islands take on Tahiti at the Al-Arabi Stadium in Doha, while Solomon Islands face Vanuatu at the same venue, Covid tests pending.

Those matches are scheduled for March 20, 2022.

In Group B, its a top of the table clash when Fiji face New Zealand at the Qatar SC Stadium while New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea face a do-or-die showdown when they play in the early kick-off.

Ends

WATCH MATCHES AS LIVE AT THE LINKS BELOW


Full Match Schedule here

Match Results
Oceania FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
Thursday 17 March 2022
Al-Arabi Stadium, Doha
Cook Islands 0
Solomon Islands 2 (Atkin Kaua 20', Alwin Hou 45+1')
HT: 0-2.
(FIFA Match Report here
(Watch As Live here

Oceania FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
Thursday 17 March 2022
Al-Arabi Stadium, Doha
Tahiti v Vanuatu - Match Cancelled due to Covid-19

Oceania FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
Friday 18 March 2022
Qatar SC Stadium, Doha
Papua New Guinea 0
New Zealand 1 (Ben WAINE 75')
HT: 0-0.
(FIFA Match Report here
(Watch As Live here)

Oceania FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
Friday 18 March 2022
Qatar SC Stadium, Doha
New Caledonia 1 (Wetrie 78')
Fiji 2 (Sanisau Nalaubu 11', 89')
HT: 0-1.
(FIFA Match Report here
(Watch As Live here

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