30 Nov 2015

Football Ferns make history in Brazil

7:47 am on 30 November 2015

The Football Ferns have claimed New Zealand's first win over Brazil on their home territory, beating the hosts 1-0 in the opening game of their two-match series in Sao Paulo.

The Football Ferns' Amber Hearn in action.

The Football Ferns' Amber Hearn in action. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

New Zealand striker Amber Hearn scored the winning goal in the 35th minute, rifling home a shot from inside the penalty area after a free kick was played into her path by Rosie White.

It was Hearn's 46th goal for New Zealand and gave the Football Ferns veteran extra reason to celebrate, with today also being her 31st birthday.

The result is the second win for the 16th ranked Football Ferns over 7th ranked Brazil, the first in Switzerland in 2013 at the Valais Cup.

That result was also a 1-0 win with Hearn scoring the only goal.

Aimee Phillips made her Football Ferns debut in the second half, coming into the game as an 81st minute substitute for White.

The New Zealand coach Tony Readings said the win was especially pleasing after a year full of near-misses on the scoreboard.

"We're obviously really happy with the team," Readings said, "We've had a lot of disappointments this year with some really good performances without getting the result.

"But today we put in one and we got the rewards. It's good to get that every now and again because it just keeps inspiring you to work harder and harder.

"We were happy with the performance but the exciting thing for us is that we can play a lot better than that. We can definitely be a lot more cohesive when we've got the ball. So it's nice to say for once that we've played well but there's room for improvement even though we got the win."

New Zealand survived a scare in the fifth minute, as 2006-2010 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year Marta carved out a great scoring chance for her side but the final shot was wide of Erin Nayler's goal.

Jasime Pereira, making her first start for the Football Ferns, had the visitors' first chance - heading wide from a cross in the 10th minute before Hearn's opener came after the half hour mark.

The New Zealand striker was fouled in midfield and following a delayed restart with Brazil players arguing with the referee, White stroked the ball to Hearn, who was free on the edge of the area and she made no mistake in firing across goal and into bottom corner.

From there the Football Ferns dug deep with a strong effort both in and out of possession with goalkeeper Nayler also playing a key role, denying Brazil's Cristiane mid-way through the second half with a superb save one-on-one.

Readings said his side delivered on their intent to play through the thirds of the pitch even when pressed by their opponents.

"We've spoken a lot since the World Cup about remaining disciplined but someone stepping up and showing a little bit of quality is what's required and that's what wins games and today we had that."

The second game of the two-match series is in Cuiaba on Wednesday at 1pm (NZ time).