New Zealand’s Futsal Whites have won their opening game at the OFC Futsal Cup, beating a Fiji FA Presidents Five team 5-1.
The Futsal Whites started well with Southern United’s Rahan Ali scoring only two minutes into his full international debut.
The Fijian side levelled through Ravneel Pal and the New Zealand goalkeeper Patrick Steele was needed to make a couple of important saves to ensure his side didn’t fall behind.
Auckland City’s Sean McIntee put New Zealand ahead to give them a 2-1 lead at half-time.
Four minutes after the restart, Jordi Ditford scored the most spectacular goal of the game, with a bicycle kick judged to perfection.
With a two-goal buffer, the Futsal Whites started to control the game and they finished well, with a second goal from Ali and then a fifth goal from Hamish Grey, another making his senior debut.
Grey is New Zealand’s first futsal player to land a professional contract — click here to learn more >>>>
Game played on Tuesday September 13, 2022
New Zealand 5 (Rahan Ali 2′, 26′, Sean McIntee 18′, Jordi Ditford 24′, Hamish Grey 28′)
Fiji FA Presidents Five 1 (Ravneel Pal 12′)
New Zealand v Vanuatu
September 14, 6pm (NZT)
New Zealand v Tonga
September 16, 3.30pm (NZT)
The Futsal Whites have been drawn in Group A with Tonga, Vanuatu, and a Fiji Football Association ‘President’s Five’.
Group B consists of Fiji, New Caledonia, Samoa and Solomon Islands.
Four group games will take place each day at the Vodafone Arena, Suva.
At the conclusion of group play, the teams will split into a Cup and a Plate section for the knockout stage.
The winners and runners-up from each group meet in the semi-finals of the Cup while the other teams meet in the semi-finals of the Plate competition.
The semi-finals will produce the finalists for the Cup and Plate and the losing semi-finalists will play off for places, enabling all eight sides to be placed in order at the end of the tournament.
Futsal Whites squad
Rahan Ali (Southern United)*
Yousif Al-Kalisy (Auckland City FC)*
Mike Antamanov (Auckland City FC)*
Stephen Ashby (Auckland City FC)
Jordi Ditfort (Waikato Rapids)
Hamish Grey (ASD Isola 5)*
Oban Hawkins (Northern Comets)
Ethan Martin (Waikato Rapids)*
Sean McIntee (Auckland City FC)*
Adam Paulsen (Auckland City FC)*
Casey Sharplin (Waikato Rapids)*
Patrick Steele (Waikato Rapids)*
Denny Twigg (Northern Comets)*
Logan Wisnewski (Waikato Rapids)
* Debut senior squad selection