New Zealand through to semi-finals after huge win at OFC U-19 Championship

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New Zealand have taken a step closer to retaining their OFC U-19 Women’s Championship title with a 19-0 win over Solomon Islands in Suva.

The defending champions proved too strong for Solomon Islands in their quarter-final at HFC Bank Stadium, dealing the damage early on with a number of goals in the first-half to ensure their passage through to the semi-finals on Wednesday.

They will play Cook Islands for a place in the final.

Main photo: New Zealand routed Solomon Islands in their quarter-final. Photo credit: OFC / Phototek.

New Zealand’s Ella Mccann scores against the Solomon Islands. Photo: OFC / Kirk Corrie — Phototek.

Having already gone close in the opening stages, the Kiwis found the breakthrough in the 9th minute, when Ella McCann was played in via an excellent through ball by Danielle Canham and slotted past Solomon Islands’ goalkeeper Naomi Siriongo.

Two further goals came within a minute as first Ruby Nathan and then Zoe Benson exploited space in the defensive line to give New Zealand their second and third goals.

Danielle Canham got her name on the scoresheet following a short corner routine that found the midfielder on the edge of the box, and Siriongo could only palm Canham’s effort into the top corner.

New Zealand’s Kiara Bercelli … scored twice in four minutes. Photo: OFC / Kirk Corrie — Phototek.

Kiara Bercelli added two for herself within the space of four minutes, first a far post header from a corner that looped over the ‘keeper and then prodding home from Ruby Nathan’s downward header from within the six-yard area. Bercelli then turned provider to square for McCann to tap in from close range.

Solomon Islands sporadically threatened on the counter but struggled to test New Zealand stopper Charlotte Eagle.

Gertrude Oritaime saw her outside-of-the-boot effort float wide of the far post before Salome Masi fired across the face of goal but the ball was well held by Eagle.

McCann completed her hat-trick when set up by Nathan again before Bercelli matched her three-goal haul, again from a Ruby Nathan assist.

Three further goals were added before the half-time whistle; Canham intercepted Siriongo’s goal-kick before slotting into the far corner, Benson squared for Ruby Nathan to get her second before an outstanding individual run by Emma Pijnenburg led to a one-two with Benson, and the captain fired into the roof of the net.

The second half saw the reigning champions continue to push, adding goals in the 51st and 55th minutes, first through Player of the Match Ruby Nathan following an excellent passing move and then Zoe Benson, tapping in from a Nathan cutback.

Player of the Match New Zealand’s Ruby Nathan. Photo: OFC / Kirk Corrie — Phototek.

Benson added another just after the hour mark, expertly dummying the goalkeeper before rolling the ball into the net. Minutes later, substitute Lara Colpi got her name on the scoresheet, riding a tackle in the area before sneaking the ball in from an acute angle.

Bercelli added her fourth, taking advantage of a poor clearance to slam the ball high into the net before the Solomon Islands’ task became ever harder when substitute goalkeeper Amantha Francis was sent off for taking out Colpi on the edge of the area.

The excellent Nathan added a couple more in the dying minutes, two almost identical finishes from close-range after neat cutbacks to put a seal on proceedings.

New Zealand advance to a semi-final on Wednesday against the Cook Islands who beat Vanuatu 2-1 in their quarter-final on Sunday.

Acknowledgement: Match report supplied by OFC Media.

READ MORE: Women’s U-19 coach Leon Birnie: ‘It’s about performance, not the score’ >>>>

Watch the game


Game played on Sunday July 2, 2023

New Zealand 19 ( (Ella McCann 9′, 28′, 34′, Ruby Nathan 13′ 43′ 51′ 88′ 90+2′, Zoe Benson 13′ 55′ 62′, Danielle Canham 16′ 39′, Kiara Bercelli 19′, 23′, 35′ 74′, Emma Pijnenburg 45′, Lara Colpi 68′)
Solomon Islands 0

Cook Islands 2
Vanuatu 1


Game to be played on Wednesday July 5, 2023


New Zealand v Cook Islands
HFC Bank Stadium, Suva, 7pm (NZT)

New Zealand

Charlotte Eagle, Suva Haering, Ella McMillan (Charlotte Mortlock 46′), Marie Green (Helena Errington 46′), Zoe McMeeken (Lara Colpi 46′), Ruby Nathan, Kiara Bercelli, Emma Pitnenburg (Rebekah Trewhitt 46′), Danielle Canham, Ella McCann (Alexis Cook 63′), Zoe Benson.

New Zealand’s starting line-up against Solomon Islands. Photo: OFC / Kirk Corrie — Phototek.

Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands’ starting line-up. Photo: OFC / Kirk Corrie — Phototek.

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