25 Feb 2012

New Zealand A trounced by Saudi Arabia

2:03 pm on 25 February 2012

New Zealand's under-23 footballers have been handed a lesson as part of a nine-man New Zealand 'A' side that lost 6-0 to Saudi Arabia in Melbourne Friday night.

After restricting the Saudis - down under to meet Australia in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier on Wednesday night - to three goals on Monday night, the addition of four over-age players to the U-23 side was expected to help bridge the gap.

But the presence of Cole Peverley, Aaron Clapham, Jason Hayne and Cole Tinkler was never able to be fully leveraged once the side was reduced to 10 men after just 7 minutes.

Undermanned in defence New Zealand 'A' conceded twice in three minutes to be 0-2 behind after little more than 15 minutes, and while early substitute James Musa helped strengthen the back line, the Saudis netted again to be 3-0 ahead at the break.

The deficit stretched to four nine minutes into the second half and a quick fire pair of yellow cards to Andrew Milne reduced the New Zealanders to nine men for the final 24 minutes in which the Saudis added two more goals for good measure.

The New Zealand under-23's begin their road to London at the Oceania Olympic Qualifiers in Taupo next month.