The All Whites lead Curacao 2-1 in the second half of their international friendly in Bahrain.
Midfielder Bill Tuiloma opened the scoring for the All Whites in the 9th minute when his long range free-kick was deflected in, before Burnley striker Chris Wood doubled the lead after 33 minutes.
Rangelo Janga pulled one back for Curacao when he blasted a shot past Stefan Marinovic from the near post after Niko Kirwan was unable to deal with a corner.
The All Whites will be pleased with their performance from the opening 45 minutes, and have dominated the possession and scoring opportunities.
The match is the All Whites’ first in almost 700 days since they played Ireland and Lithuania in November 2019.
Those two games were meant to be the start of something, after a long hiatus, before the Covid-19 pandemic intervened.
It means coach Danny Hay has a delicate juggle, trying to assess players while also building combinations and getting results.
“I wish it wasn’t the case but this is really our start on the road to Qatar 2022,” said Hay. “We need to have a good long look at a number of players and see who we want to move forward with. But at the same time we are here to win football matches.”
Hay watched Curacao lose 4-0 to Bahrain on Thursday, but warned it was a deceptive result, as they “dropped their bundle” after a couple of goalkeeping errors.
He is expecting a tough test from the Caribbean nation, who are ranked No 79 in the world and boast players from top leagues across Europe. Bahrain (who the All Whites ply on Wednesday) are No 91, with the All Whites at No 121.
-More to come.
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