Interim head coach Darren Bazeley praised his All Whites side for their team spirit and resilience after they toughed out a 0-0 draw with China, despite playing with only 10 men for the last third of the game.
“After the week we’ve had, with people travelling across the world, I thought it was unbelievable team spirit and resilience tonight,” he said after the friendly international at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium.
In his post-match briefing, Bazeley said:
“I thought we played some great football, dominated possession, got into our patterns, created some chances, got the ball into some really dangerous areas, and I thought we gelled as a team really well.
“We talked about being controlled in possession and having courage to play in the areas across the board from, from (goalkeeper) Oli (Sail) and moving through the thirds.
“Out of possession, I thought we were awesome — aggressive, controlled, really put China under a lot of pressure every time they had the ball.
“And we won it back really, really quickly.
“It’s just a shame we didn’t get the goal, but those moments are coming.
“And obviously, then the red card in the second half changes the game, and it becomes really difficult for us.
“But I think even with 10 men, we had a few patches where we strung some good passes together, and then showed a lot of resilience and a lot of good team spirit and hard work to not lose the game.”
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Game played on Thursday March 23, 2023
New Zealand 0
Games to be played on Sunday March 26, 2023
New Zealand U-22 v China PR
Sky Stadium, Wellington, 12.30pm (NZT)
All Whites v China PR
Sky Stadium, Wellington, 4pm (NZT)
Tickets are available from $20 to $80 (adult) and $10 to $40 (children aged 2-14).