28 Jan 2015

Sport: NZ defend Oceania title to qualify for U17 World Cup

1:34 pm on 28 January 2015

New Zealand have qualified for the Under 17 football World Cup after beating Tahiti on penalties in a dramatic Oceania final in Pago Pago.

Seeking a fifth straight regional title, the Young All Whites went ahead on the hour mark courtesy of top scorer Logan Rogerson.

Connor Probert had the chance to seal victory three minutes later from the penalty spot but was unable to convert before Honoarii Kohumoetini scored a dramatic equaliser with eight minutes remaining to send the match to a penalty-shootout.

Michel Maihi's first attempt for Tahiti was saved, with all five New Zealand's penalty takers finding the back of the net to prevail 5-4, making for a relieved coach Jose Figueira.

"We were very happy to score against what was a very stubborn and well-organised and tough team, who were coming to get the draw. Once we got the lead we thought we were kind of one step closer but as we know in the final it's small details and one moment of sleeping we got punished but at the end of the day we got what we wanted".

Meanwhile Vanuatu finished on a high, thumping New Caledonia 6-0 in the third place playoff.