The Futsal Whites opened their OFC Futsal Championship bid on Monday with a 5-0 victory over Vanuatu at the Vodafone Arena in Fiji.
In their first game of tournament to decide the Oceania Football representative at the FIFA Futsal World Cup in Columbia later this year, the Futsal Whites withstood a good start from Vanuatu who used strong defensive tactics and their speed on the counter to challenge the New Zealanders from the outset.
Scott Gilligan’s side managed to keep them at bay for the first half, Vanuatu’s approach proving too exhausting to maintain and cracks started to show in the second stanza.
“We talked about Vanuatu and their counter attack,” Gilligan said. “We saw it in New Zealand and knew it was going to happen. I think in the last few minutes of the first half we started to get on top but just couldn’t get the ball in.
“I wasn’t worried at half-time because I knew they’d start to get tired in the second half.”
HIGHLIGHTS: Vanuatu v New Zealand (via Oceania Football)
The goals came thick and fast once Daniel Burns opened the scoring, with Miroslav Malivuk following up 30 seconds later.
Just after the 30 minute mark Jakub Sinkora found the back of the net with a tap in at the back post before Malivuk scored New Zealand’s fourth with a near post finish just under a minute later.
Kareem Osman then rounded out the scoring for the Kiwis with a powerful effort of his own from distance.
New Zealand’s next match is on Tuesday at 9pm (NZ time) against Tahiti – beaten 3-0 by the Solomon Islands on Monday.
OFC Futsal Championship 2016
Monday 8 February
Vanuatu 0-5 New Zealand (half: 0-0)
NZL: Daniel Burns 21.54’, Miroslav Malivuk 22.30’, 31.11’, Jakub Sinkora 30.17’, Kareem Osman 34.22’