March 23, 2009
AUCKLAND – The New Zealand U-17 football team have finished their Japanese tour on a high with a pulsating 4-3 win over Japan in Fukuoka on Monday.
The Young All Whites raced to a 4-1 lead after an hour but suffered some nervous moments as Japan scored twice in two minutes to reduce the deficit with 15 minute remaining, before closing the game out in the final minutes.
The result against a team that has already qualified for FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria later this year is a huge fillip for Steve Cain’s young team ahead of their own Auckland-based Oceania qualifiers in April, and reversed a 1-2 defeat to Japan in the opening game of the Sanix Cup four days ago.
“That momentum is exactly what we’re looking for. We’ve only lost two games here [of seven], not counting the penalty shootouts, and in the last two games we’ve scored 11 goals,” Cain said.
“To beat Japan and put four past them on home patch is really pleasing.”
It took just 10 minutes for New Zealand to carve an opening down Japan’s left hand flank with Andrew Milne on the receiving end of a pin-point cross, while Andrew Bevin scored in similar fashion nine minutes later.
In the 35th minute a spilled shot bounced into the path of a Japanese striker to make it 2-1 at half time, but ten minutes after halftime Cameron Lindsay capped a deep run from midfield with a neat low finish, and then Milne teed up Jamie Dorris on the edge of the area to make it 4-1 with half an hour left to play.
Andrew Bevin smashed a shot on to the cross bar in the 72nd minute, and Japan swept down the other end of the field and scored, and grabbed their third goal just two minutes later.
“Against teams like Japan it’s never over, especially with their pace and skill. We’ve gone down one end at hit the bar, which would’ve made it 5-1, and they’ve got two quick goals and suddenly it’s 4-3.
“They piled the pressure on in a period the boys have settled down and held on quite comfortably in the end.”
U-17 International Friendly
March 23, 2009
New Zealand 4 (Andrew Milne 10, Andrew Bevin 19, Cameron Lindsay 55, Jamie Dorris) Japan 3
New Zealand: Coey Turipa (GK), Adam Thomas, Josh Morrison, Gordon Murie (Dylan Windust 80), Zane Sole, Andrew Bevin, Ashton Pett, Andrew Milne, Michael Built, Cameron Lindsay, Jamie Doris.
Substitutes not used: Alex Carr (RGK), Steven Kibby, Thomas Spragg, Fergus Neil, Ross Haviland, Nikolai Molijn, Tim Pilkington, Ernesto Lopez.
Coach: Steve Cain