Solympics sent packing towards Honiara with 2-0 defeat and red cards as Olywhites gear up for Beijing
In a game that exposes how our national players cannot handle pressure of being a goal down, as was witnessed in the recent South Pacific games in Samoa where Solomons lost to New Caledonia accompanied by a red card in the semi-finals, reflects badly on a soccer mad nation.
Coincidently, today is also STOP HIV Day in Lautoka as the United Nations AIDS programme, Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) and Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) harness the power of football to raise awareness and educate about HIV/AIDS.
In an electrifying start, Totori made a mazy run and lays off to Nawo whose shot was calmly saved by NZ keeper Spoonley.
However, it only took 5 minutes for the Olywhites to break the Solomon's determination with a header that resulted in the first goal for New Zealand to make it 1-0.
Just in the 12th minute, Luke Eroi could sense that all is not well with his team as Alick Maemae was shown a direct marching order through a red card for heavy tackle by Vanuatu referee, Lencie Fred, which angered Solomon supporters at Churchill Park.
At half time the score was still 1-0 in favour of New Zealand. However in the 69th minute, New Zealand's Craig Henderson rifles home a wonder strike from outside the penalty area to make it a resounding 2-0 to New Zealand.
From then the match turned ugly with fouls being committed on a regular basis that eventually resulted in another red card for golden boot contender Benjamin Totori in the 74th minute. At full time, New Zealand were triumphant with a 2-0 victory over the Solympics to book their dominance at the qualifiers and a direct entry to the Beijing Olympics.
As of now, the results of the remaining match between Fiji and Solomon Islands has no significance as New Zealand only have Cook Islands to play which is highly likely that they will calmly overcome.