26 Nov 2018

A dominant display from Football Ferns

12:00 pm on 26 November 2018

The Football Ferns dominance in the OFC Nations Cup has continued with a 10-0 win over Fiji in their final group game in New Caledonia.

Football Ferns celebrating a goal

Football Ferns celebrating a goal Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2018 phototek.nz

It follows an 11-0 win over Tonga and a 6-0 win over the Cooke Islands.

New Zealand will meet hosts New Caledonia in the semi-finals with the winner of the tournament qualifying for the World Cup and the Olympics.

The Football Ferns went into the match determined to top the group and started the match on the front foot with early dominance against a second-string Fijian side.

Fiji made ten changes to their starting line-up, setting themselves up a defensive wall of two lines of four behind the ball.

Annalie Longo opened the score sheet in the 8thminute followed by a brace from Sarah Gregorius before Longo struck once more to complete her brace handing the Football Ferns a 4-0 lead at the break.

The second half panned out to be a carbon copy of the first half as New Zealand dominated from start to finish.

Katie Rood became the third New Zealand player to score a brace in the game with two brilliant goals in the second half.

Meikayla Moore and substitute Emma Rolston also got their name on the score sheet and Sarah Gregorius grabbed her hat-trick with the final goal taking New Zealand to double digits for their third straight match.

New Zealand coach Tom Sermanni was pleased with another professional performance from his team.

"I was happy with how we started the game and getting some early goals makes life easier for us", he said.

"I think Fiji obviously rested quite a lot of their players tonight and put in some of of their younger, less experienced players so that probably helped us a little bit as well.

"But again, pleased with the effort, pleased with the performance."

Sermanni highlighted a record appearance for his stand-in captain Ria Percival who has achieved a milestone 133 caps for New Zealand breaking former Ferns skipper Abby Erceg 132 international caps.

"Fantastic achievement, I mean Ria is a great professional, outstanding player, a great leader and it's fantastic to see her break the record," the Scotsman said.

Fiji coach Marika Rodu said they made nine changes to the starting line-up with the main focus already on the semi-finals.

"Yes we have nine players taking the field today I think we don't have the luxury of what New Zealand having two teams that can play at any time," the Fijian coach said.

"But with our mind focusing on the semi-final I will not take the risk of getting people injured.

"So we are trying to play our cards right and at the same time give our reserve players game time for them to build their profile."

Despite the loss, Fiji also advanced into the semi-finals as runners-up in Group B in the process booking a semi-final with Papua New Guinea on Wednesday in Mare.