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All Whites beat Solomon Islands

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A young All Whites team triumphed in their opening game of the OFC Men’s Nations Cup, defeating the Solomon Islands 3-0 on Tuesday in Port Vila. This victory ended the Solomon Islands’ tournament run.

New Zealand will face Vanuatu on Friday to determine the top team in Group A, with both already guaranteed a semi-final spot. The All Whites introduced two new players, goalkeeper Alex Paulsen and Sam Sutton, while the Solomon Islands made four changes from their previous match against Vanuatu.

The game started with a minute’s silence in honor of former New Zealand Football chief executive Bob Patterson, a significant figure in Oceania football.

Ben Waine provided a dream start for the All Whites, scoring twice within the first 11 minutes. His first goal came at five minutes, followed by another six minutes later, thanks to an assist from Tim Payne. These early goals diminished the Solomon Islands’ chances of advancing.

Despite the early setback, the Solomon Islands continued to push forward. Gagame Feni nearly scored with a powerful shot, but New Zealand’s defense, including youngsters Finn Surman and Tyler Bindon, held firm.

Later, Finn Surman almost scored with a free header from a corner, but the Solomon Islands’ goalkeeper Phillip Mango made a save. However, Kosta Barbarouses seized the rebound to make it 3-0.

The Solomon Islands kept striving for a goal, but Le’ai’s shot went wide, and Javin Alick’s long-range effort did not trouble Paulsen. New Zealand’s solid performance ensured a comfortable win and a promising start to the tournament.

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