New Zealand have taken their first step as hosts of next year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup with a pair of convincing victories over Fiji in Auckland.
The Junior All Whites defeated Fiji 4-1 on Tuesday at North Harbour Stadium, having overpowered the same opponent with five unanswered goals two days earlier.
Ipswich Town’s Monty Patterson laid the platform for Tuesday’s result, scoring twice from dead-ball situations in the first half before goals in the final ten minutes from substitutes Andrew Blake and Tomislav Trbhovic blew out the final scoreline.
Facing a two-goal deficit after the restart, the visitors pulled one back via Antonio Tuivuna from a free-kick two minutes into the second half, while Samuela Nabenia spurned an excellent chance to get the Fiji side level three minutes later when through one on one with goalkeeper Zac Speedy.
It was a far tougher contest than on Sunday which proved a one-sided contest. Australia-based striker Trbuhovic led the way with a goal in each half at Bill McKinley Park, while Clayton Lewis, Patterson and substitute Blake chimed in with a goal each in a promising first outing.
The Junior All Whites play again on Thursday against Papua New Guinea.
Fiji will be aiming to win through to their maiden FIFA U-20 World Cup later this month when they host the Oceania qualifying tournament.