All Whites draw with China in friendly

SEAN MARTIN
Last updated 02:38 26/03/2011

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Midfielder Michael McGlinchey scored his first goal for New Zealand to earn them a 1-1 draw against China in an international football friendly at Wuhan, China this morning (NZT).

The 24-year-old struck from the edge of the box early in the second half to level the scores after defender Andrew Boyens conceded an own goal in just the second minute.

The match at Wuhan Sports Centre Stadium was an open affair with both sides fashioning numerous chances and All Whites keeper Glen Moss needed to be at his best to deny the hosts.

His opposite, Zeng Cheng, left the field on a stretcher in the first half and was taken to hospital in an ambulance after a heavy clash with All Whites striker Chris Woods. The All Whites suffered a nightmare start, after defender Boyens steered his attempted clearance into his own net after Moss had parried a header from China captain Du Wei.

The visitors, led by 34-year-old Ivan Vicelich in the absence of injured inspirational captain Ryan Nelsen, took time to settle into the match as the home side dominated early possession.

Moss had to be alert to keep out a shot at his near post and was helpless when impressive striker Yu Dabao found space on the edge of the box and fired a left-footed strike against the base of the Gold Coast keeper's right post.

China, ranked 76th in the world, were able to string passes together at will and it took until the 19th minute before New Zealand, who were guilty of sloppy passing on a patchy surface, fashioned a shot on goal.

Woods' shot was easily dealt with by Zeng but he came off second best 10 minutes later when Woods, released by a good ball from Chris Killen, collided with the China keeper.

 China, who had failed to make the most of their early dominance, were almost made to pay just before the break, but Jeremy Brockie headed straight at replacement keeper Cheng Yuelei when well placed.

 The All Whites were much more impressive after the break and substitute Kosta Barbarouses headed over from a corner before McGlinchey scored his first international goal in his eighth appearance.

Killen chested a ball into the path of the 24-year-old and his right-footed shot from the edge of the box gave Cheng no chance.

The All Whites pressed further forward in the second half and striker Shane Smeltz headed over the bar and midfielder David Mulligan's drive warmed the hands of Cheng as the 56th-ranked New Zealand searched for a winner.

Killen wasted a glorious chance after being released on goal by Smeltz as his shot was pushed away by his Shenzhen Ruby teammate Cheng.

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New Zealand looked the better side in the second half but almost paid for the inability to take their chances but Moss was quickly off his line twice to deny China strikers.

Coach Ricki Herbert handed international debuts to Michael Boxall, Marco Rojas and Michael Fitzgerald.

Result:
New Zealand 1 (Michael McGlinchey 53) China 1 (Andrew Boyens own goal 2). Halftime 0-1.

- NZPA

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