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All Whites finish strong in China

The All Whites overcame a shaky start to score a deserved 1-1 draw with China at Wuhan Sports Centre Stadium in Habei Province on Friday.

March 25, 2011

WUHAN, CHINA – The All Whites overcame a shaky start to score a deserved 1-1 draw with China at Wuhan Sports Centre Stadium in Habei Province on Friday.

All Whites defender Andy Boyens scored an own goal after just two minutes to set alarm bells ringing for the visitors but a second half Michael McGlinchey goal – his first at senior international level – inspired the All Whites to a rousing second half performance.

Coach Ricki Herbert was pleased with the character shown by an All Whites side missing regular starters Rory Fallon, Ryan Nelsen and Simon Elliott, to name a few.

“We didn’t start off particularly well. It was a disappointing first half but I’m always very positive,” Herbert said, “We proved we can roll out of a tough 45 minutes and produce a competitive performance in the second half,” Herbert said.

Herbert made good on his pre-match promise to utilize his bench and there were second half All Whites debuts for Michael Boxall, Marco Rojas and Michael Fitzgerald. The 1-1 draw gave Herbert plenty of food for thought with a 2014 World Cup qualification campaign on the horizon.

“I think everybody grew in the second half and I think that was really important for us we had lost what we did very well at the world cup strategically do things right. Kosta Barbarouses, Marco Rojas, Aaron Clapham and the two Michaels came on and did very positive things,” he said, “The result was a nice bonus for us and everybody who came on the pitch did themselves a favour tonight.”

Ten minutes after China snatched an early lead, the hosts nearly doubled their advantage when Yu Dabao evaded two challenges then saw his sweetly timed left foot shot hit Moss’s right hand upright. China dominated the first half as the All Whites struggled to stay in the match.

They nevertheless created chances of their own and could have easily levelled just before halftime when Jeremy Brockie nodded a Chris Wood downward header straight into the arms of substitute goalkeeper Yuelei Cheng on the stroke of halftime.

Coach Ricki Herbert injected substitutes Michael Boxall and Kosta Barbarouses into the match and the change almost paid off when Barbarouses headed a McGlinchey corner over the crossbar. Minutes later it was McGlinchey’s moment to shine when he scored the equaliser on 54 minutes.

“I knew Killy (Chris Killen) had the ability to bring it down and when I connected with the ball I always knew it was going in,” McGlinchey said, “It feels amazing. To get your first goal is something you strive to do. That was my eighth cap for the All Whites so hopefully I can kick on and get a few more goals.”

Goalkeeper Glen Moss turned in an excellent display and kept the All Whites in the match with a string of vital saves throughout the match. Moss – who was suspended from competitive action during most of last year’s World Cup adventure – was pleased with the character shown by the team.

“We always knew it was going to be the tough first 10-15 minutes and I was disappointed we conceded in the first few minutes with an unlucky goal. But we were brilliant in the second half once we found a bit of confidence and the new players did really well,” Moss said.

The All Whites could have won the match near the end when Chris Killen struck a Shane Smeltz pass at goalkeeper Yuelei Cheng while David Mulligan also had a long range shot parried by the Chinese stopper.

The next scheduled FIFA international window is June 4-8, 2011, with no fixtures currently set for the All Whites.  Tomorrow the All Whites depart Wuhan and the players head back to their various clubs around the world.

China – ranked 76th in the world - faces Costa Rica and Honduras in the next four days.

ENDS

EXTRA INFORMATION

Friendly International
China v New Zealand
At Wuhan Sports Centre Stadium
Wuhan, China
Friday 25 March, 2011
Referee: Masaaki TOMA (JPN)
Assistant Referee 1: Zheng WEIXIANG (CHN)
Assistant Referee 2: A LAMUSI (CHN)
Fourth Official: Wang ZHE (CHN)

New Zealand: 1- Glen MOSS (GK); 4-Ivan VICELICH ©, 5-Tommy SMITH, 13- Andrew BOYENS (2-Michael BOXALL 45’), 3- Tony LOCHHEAD, 7-Michael McGLINCHEY (20-Aaron CLAPHAM 89’), 11-Jeremy BROCKIE (22- Michael FITZGERALD 78’). 15-David MULLIGAN; 8- Chris WOOD (16-Kosta BARBAROUSES 45’), 9-Shane SMELTZ, 10-Chris KILLEN (21-Marco ROJAS 78’)

Subs not used: 12- Jacob SPOONLEY (GK).

Coach: Ricki HERBERT (NZL)

Goals: Andy BOYENS (NZL) 3’ – own goal/Michael McGLINCHEY (NZL) 53’.

Cautions: Tommy SMITH (NZL)

Halftime:  CHN 1-0 NZL
Fulltime: CHN 1-1NZL

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