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New Zealand 1 Slovenia 3

MARIBOR, SLOVENIA – A third competitive performance in a fortnight and sustaining no further injuries were two major positives New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert took from the All Whites’ 1-3 loss to world number 25 Slovenia in Maribor on Saturday morning (NZT).

June 4, 2010

MARIBOR, SLOVENIA – A third competitive performance in a fortnight and sustaining no further injuries were two major positives New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert took from the All Whites’ 1-3 loss to world number 25 Slovenia in Maribor on Saturday morning (NZT).

In a goal laden first half, two clinical free kicks from Milivoje Novakovic sandwiched a Rory Fallon equaliser and a tap-in from Andraz Kirm rounded out the scoring in the 43rdminute.

Following a narrow loss to Australia in Melbourne and a impressive win over Serbia in Austria another competitive showing against a fellow finalist keeps alive New Zealand hopes of a credible display in a FIFA World Cup campaign that begins against Slovakia on June 15.

“We’ve got what we’ve needed from the tour,” said Herbert.

“We’ve played tough challenging matches against three top sides and we’ve been more than competitive. We leave Europe with it having been a real positive step.”

With vice-captain Tim Brown fighting to recover from shoulder surgery and striker Chris Killen rested because of a tight calf, getting through the fixture unscathed was also vitally important.

“Overall it’s in everyone’s best interests to make sure we’ve got our best players fit and available for selection.

“We’ve been through Australia and Europe and we have no more injuries. Killen’s calf just needs a little bit of time and he should be fine. And this stage we’ve got a good group who’s had three solid games and we could be ready now.”

Novakovic curled  his first goal over the wall and past Mark Paston for a seventh minute opener after New Zealand conceded a free kick 25 metres out.

The All Whites levelled 13 minutes later when Chris Wood met a Leo Bertos cross at the back post and headed the ball down for Fallon.

On the half hour mark Novakovic struck his second, again from a free kick 35 metres out but this time low and to Paston’s left and with the assistance of a generous 10 yards given between himself and the wall by the

Another knockdown from Wood resulted in a 38th minute strike from Shane Smeltz that Handanovic palmed around the post and a minute later the highly rated Slovenian keeper somehow managed to paw a shot from Wood onto the cross bar after Fallon headed on a Simon Elliott free kick.

But two minutes before halftime, a Zlatko Dedic shot deceived Mark Paston in flight, bouncing out of his grasp and into the path of Andres Kirm who extended the home team’s lead.

Fallon, Tommy Smith and Winston Reid all had chances in the second half but couldn’t reduce the deficit.

The All Whites returned back to their Austrian base in Bad Waltersodrf after the match and will depart for South Africa tomorrow. They arrive on Sunday June 6 with just a training match against Chile left on June 9 before their opener against Slovakia on June 15.

New Zealand 1 (Rory Fallon 20) Slovenia 3 (Milivoje Novakovic 7, 30; Andraz Kirm 43)
Halftime: 1-3

New Zealand: 1-Mark PASTON (GK), 3-Tony LOCHHEAD, 4-Winston REID, 6-Ryan NELSEN (captain), 7 Simon ELLIOTT, 9-Shane SMELTZ, 11-Leo BERTOS, 14-Rory FALLON, 19-Tommy SMITH, 20-Chris WOOD (22-Jeremy BROCKIE 46), 21-Jeremy CHRISTIE.
Substitutes not used: 2-Ben SIGMUND, 5-Ivan VICELEICH, 12-Glen MOSS (RGK), 13-Andy BARRON, 15-Michael MCGLINCHEY, 16-Aaron CLAPHAM, 17-David MULLIGAN, 18-Andrew BOYENS, 23-James BANNATYNE (RGK).

Cautions: Winston Reid 29

Slovenia: 1-Samir HANDANOVIC (GK), 2-Miso BRECKO (6-Branko ILIC 76), 4-Marko SULER, 5-Bostjan CESAR, 8-Robert KOREN, 9-Zlatan LJUBIJANKIC (14-Zlatko DEDIC 12), 10-Valter BIRSA, 11-Milivoje NOVAKOVIC (7-Nejc PECNIK 61), 13-Bojan JOKIC, 17-Andraz KIRM (23-Tim MATAVZ 87), 18-Aleksander RADOSAVLJEVIC (15-Rene KRHIN 78).

Substitutes not used:  3-Elvedin DZINIC, 12-Jasmin HANDANOVIC (RGK), 19-Suad FILEKOVIC, 20-Andrej KOMAC,  21-Dalibor STEVANOVIC, 22-Matej MAVRIC-ROZIC.

Cautions: -Bostjan Cesar 70

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