New Zealand have one hand on a place in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 thanks to a comprehensive 7-1 away win over Papua New Guinea in the first leg of the OFC play-off.
The Football Ferns defied both their opponents and the oppressive conditions in Lae to march to a 4-0 half-time advantage.
The mid-summer Melanesian heat meant drinks break were taken in both halves, but the conditions did little to halt the Football Ferns’ charge.
New Zealand’s leading all-time goalscorer Amber Hearn scored in each half, as did midfielder Annalie Longo. There were less likely goalscorers for the Kiwis in the form of defenders Rebekah Stott and Abby Erceg, with forward Aimee Phillips netting her first international cap in just her second appearance.
There was, however, something for the home side to cheer about late on as 2014 OFC U-20 Women's Championship Golden Ball winner Meagen Gunemba broke clear and scored with a smart finish.
New Zealand will aim to complete qualification for their third successive Olympic Games in Tuesday’s return leg in Auckland.