Oly-Whites put 10 goals past hapless Tonga

NICE ONE: Oly Whites' striker Greg Draper (left) celebrates his goal against Tonga with Jason Hicks.
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NICE ONE: Oly Whites' striker Greg Draper (left) celebrates his goal against Tonga with Jason Hicks.

The Oly Whites have comfortably beaten Tonga 10-0 to move through to the semifinals of the Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament in Taupo.

The Kiwis had multiple opportunities in the first 20 minutes of the game but failed to score until the 24th minute when Greg Draper made it 1-0.

Two goals to Daniel Saric gave the New Zealand under-23 team a 3-0 lead going into halftime.

The Oly Whites built on that lead shortly after the break with two quick goals to Louis Fenton before a scoring flurry in the final 20 minutes.

While Tonga had managed to avoid a blow-out in the first three quarters, four goals in nine minutes for the Kiwis, including two to Ethan Galbraith, well and truly wrapped up the game.

A final goal in injury time to Sean Lovemore wrapped up top spot for the Oly Whites in Group B, with Papua New Guinea finishing second and Tonga relegated to third.

New Zealand will face Vanuatu in Friday's semifinals, after Fiji pipped Vanuatu 2-1 for top spot in Group A today. Fiji will meet Papua New Guinea in the other semifinal.

New Zealand coach Neil Emblen described the first half perfromance as "rusty" but felt his team showed their worth in the second spell.

"You'd take that score line if it was offered before the game," Emblen said.

"The passing wasn't as crisp as we would have liked and we're yet to hit top gear.

"We want to go through the tournament not conceding a goal - if we can do that we'll get to London - and we're still on track in that area.

"We pulled a couple of players early and that shows how important they are to our campaign, but we said to the boys at halftime that the game was won and they now had the chance to choose the team for Friday.

"It was a chance to put to get themselves in my mind when I'm picking the line up for the semifinals and it's pleasing to see players sticking their hands up."

Earlier, the Solomon Islands demolished American Samoa 16-1.

American Samoa scored their one and only goal in the sixth minute off a Shalom Luani header from a corner kick.

Their lead lasted 15 minutes as the Solomon Islands struck back in the 22nd minute with a goal to Ian Paia.

American Samoa were still in it at halftime, only down 3-1, but the Solomon Islands went on a 13-0 scoring blitz in the second half to run away with the game.

Neither team was in contention for the semifinals, with the win giving the Solomon Islands third while American Samoa was consigned to fourth place and the wooden spoon in Group A.

- additional reporting Ian Anderson

Fairfax Media