Korea Republic spoiled New Zealand’s homecoming party when they beat the Football Ferns 1-0 at Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch.
Despite creating a few goalscoring chances and having the support of a vocal home crowd, the Ferns were unable to find a goal, and they paid the price.
The visitors won the game with a well-taken goal in the 31st minute, and then managed the game well enough to take the first of the two-match international friendly series.
New Zealand’s first opportunity came in the ninth minute when a Paige Satchell run and shot led to the ball rebounding to midfielder Olivia Chance whose shot whistled wide of the far post.
Striker Emma Rolston was forced to leave the pitch after 16 minutes when she was injured and left the pitch distressed, to be replaced by youngster Grace Jale.
Urged on the enthusiastic home crowd, the Ferns were playing with a sense of urgency but as the game settled down, the Koreans started to dominate possession.
On the half-hour, the visitors took a well-deserved lead. The move started when the referee played advantage, allowing the Koreans to start a move down the right wing.
Hyo-Joo dashed to the byline and played an inch-perfect ball for Min-a to smash the ball past goalkeeper Vic Esson from 12 metres.
By half-time, the visitors were having the better of the game, with 54% of possession and having created the most goalscoring opportunities.
In the opening stages of the second half, Korea had New Zealand under the pump.
Bunge was forced to cop a yellow to stop a threatening attack; two chances were spoiled by soft finishes; a third was an unchallenged header that flew over New Zealand’s bar.
In the 58th minute, Min-a struck a stinging shot that a full-stretch Esson turned away for a corner.
A mix-up at the back by Korea gifted the best goalscoring opportunity of the game in the 66th minute when Chance interested a wayward back pass.
Her first time shot shaved the post.
With 10 minutes to go, substitute Ava Collins created another opening for Chance whose shot struck the left post.
As the game neared its end, and roared on by a vocal crowd, the Ferns continued to push forward.
Chance had another shot, this time straight at the ‘keeper.
The whistle finally went, with Korea relieved to get the win.
The bottom line for New Zealand was that despite spells of good play and the creation of goalscoring chances, the ball didn’t get into the net.
The chance to rectify that comes on Tuesday when the sides meet again in the same stadium.
Game played on Saturday November 12, 2022
New Zealand 0
Korea Republic 1 (Min-a 31′)
Vic Esson, Meikayla Moore, Kate Bowen, Claudia Bunge, Elizabeth Anton (Mackenzie Barry 83′), Indiah-Paige Riley (Ava Collins 67′), Malia Steinmetz (Daisy Cleverley 67′), Betsy Hassett, Olivia Chance, Paige Satchell (Gabi Rennie 46′), Emma Rolston (Grace Jale 16′).
Subs not used: Erin Nayler, Ashleigh Ward, Anna Leat, Ally Green, Anna Green.
Yellow cards: Moore (35′), Jale (45′), Bunge (54′).
K.Jung-mi, J.Sei-gi, L. Seon-joo (Ye-eun 73′), K. Hye-ri, C.Hyo-joo, S.Yun-ji, L.Min-a, L.Gerum-min, C.Yu-ri, S.Hwa-yeon (Yu-been 90+2′), K.Chae-rim (Eun-sun 83′).
Subs not used: Y.Young-geul, Su-in, Ye-bin, J.Chang, Ji-soo. K.Min-jung, Garam.
Yellow card: L.Min-a (64′)
Elizabeth Anton; Perth Glory, Australia (13/0)
Mackenzie Barry; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ (1/0)
Katie Bowen; Unattached (85/3)
Claudia Bunge; Melbourne Victory FC, Australia (14/0)
Olivia Chance; Celtic FC, Scotland (35/1)
Daisy Cleverley; HB Køge, Denmark (22/2)
Ava Collins; St John’s University, USA (5/0)
Victoria Esson; Rangers FC, Scotland (10/0)
Ally Green; Vålerenga, Norway (2/0)
Betsy Hassett; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ (135/14)
Grace Jale; Canberra United, Australia (8/2)
Anna Leat; Aston Villa FC, England (9/0)
Meikayla Moore; Glasgow City FC, Scotland (58/4)
Erin Nayler; Umeå IK, Sweden (78/0)
Gabi Rennie; Arizona State University, USA (16/2)
Ali Riley; Angel City FC, USA (147/2)
Indiah-Paige Riley; Fortuna Hjørring, Denmark (3/0)
Emma Rolston; Avaldsnes IL, Norway (13/6)
Paige Satchell; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ (33/2)
Malia Steinmetz; Western Sydney Wanderers, Australia (11/0)
Kate Taylor; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ (5/0)
Ashleigh Ward; Southampton FC, England (2/0)
Selected for squad but unavailable for game
READ MORE: Wisnewski and Hand to miss international through injury >>>>
Jacqui Hand; Aland United, Finland (10/1) — knee injury
Grace Wisnewski; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ, (0/0)* — calf tear
Game to be played on Tuesday November 15, 2022
New Zealand v Korea Republic
Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch, 6pm
Adults $10, children $5.