October 16, 2013
PORT OF SPAIN – The All Whites have recorded a scoreless draw with Trinidad and Tobago in their final competitive match against before the highly anticipated intercontinental playoff against Mexico in November.
Neither side was able to break the deadlock in front of over 10,000 raucous supporters at the Halsey Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
All Whites coach Ricki Herbert was pleased with the performance and the result, but had one eye on the final round of CONCACAF qualifiers which kicked off shortly after the final whistle was blown.
“We’re definitely happy with the outcome today, if we have the same result in a month’s time we’ll be over the moon,” Herbert said post match shortly before racing back to the team hotel to run an eye over his potential opponents.
Herbert and the rest of the New Zealand squad then endured a rollercoaster of emotions as the three remaining CONCACAF matches see-sawed simultaneously across North America and the Caribbean.
Mexico suffered a 2-1 defeat by Costa Rica in San Jose, though a pair of late goals from the USA ensured a 3-2 win over Panama, which means the All Whites will face Mexico at the impressive Estadio Azteca on November 13, with a return leg in Wellington seven days later in front of a sold out home crowd.
Herbert had been a spectator at the 105,000 capacity stadium four days earlier as the Aztec giants scored a late winner over Panama to edge ahead in the race for the playoff spot.
“It’s an amazing place to watch football and what a privilege it will be for the All Whites to play what you could argue would be the most important match in Mexico since the ’86 world cup final,” said Herbert.
In a game of few clear chances it was the All Whites who had the best opportunities, with Aaron Clapham brilliantly thwarted by the Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper in the first half. A Kosta Barbarouses chance superbly laid on by the impressive Rory Fallon was also snuffed out by some last ditch defending.
At the other end All Whites custodian Glen Moss was rarely called into action, acrobatically saving a first half free kick from Soca Warriors skipper Kenwyne Jones and rushing off his line to deny him again in the dying stages.
Herbert introduced two players to international action with 18-year-old Bill Tuiloma making his senior debut off the bench at halftime as a replacement for Leo Bertos.
Tuiloma was then shifted from wingback into the back three as Tommy Smith limped out with a knee injury allowing Craig Henderson to make his long awaited first appearance for New Zealand at the third attempt.
The All Whites now return to their respective clubs around the globe before assembling again for the intercontinental playoff.
All Whites | Result
Trinidad and Tobago v New Zealand
Played at Hasely Crawford Stadium
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago 0
New Zealand 0
New Zealand: 1-Glen MOSS (gk), 2-Winston REID (c), 3-Tony LOCHHEAD, , 5-Tommy SMITH (19-Craig HENDERSON 64’), 7-Leo BERTOS (11-Bill TUILOMA 46’), 8-Michael MCGLINCHEY, 9-Aaron CLAPHAM (6-Jake BUTLER 77’), 10-Rory FALLON, 16-Jeremy BROCKIE, 17-Kosta BARBAROUSES, 22-Andrew DURANTE
Coach: Ricki HERBERT
Subs not used: 4-Cole PEVERLEY, 12-Tamati WILLIAMS (gk), 13-Dan KEAT, 14-Aaron SCOTT, 20-Kris BRIGHT, 21-Cam HOWIESON