New Zealand have won through to their second successive Men’s Olympic Football Tournament by edging a 1-0 win against Fiji in the Oceania final in Taupo.
A lone Greg Draper penalty on 18 minutes was enough for the Kiwis on home turf to get the better of the Fijians in a tight contest.
Fiji were not without their chances and skipper Esava Naqaleca smashed a powerful header off the crossbar a minute into the second half, with Zibraaz Sahib repeated the feat three minutes later.
New Zealand, missing several key players, endured a similarly tough semi-final before defeating Vanuatu 3-2, while Fiji enjoyed easier passage to the decider with a 3-0 win against Papua New Guinea.
Only three spots remain for London 2012 with the CONCACAF qualifiers to be completed early next month and the final ticket to be contested in a play-off between Senegal and an Asian representative in late April at the City of Coventry stadium.
*Due to Fiji fielding an ineligible player in the final match against New Zealand, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee subsequently ruled that this game was forfeited by Fiji, with New Zealand duly awarded a 3-0 victory.