All Whites go down to Northern Ireland

Author
NZN,
Section
Football,
Publish Date
Saturday, 3 June 2017, 9:30AM
Chris Wood of the All Whites. (Getty)
Chris Wood of the All Whites. (Getty)

The All Whites have offered glimpses of potential in a 1-0 loss to Northern Ireland to kick-start their build-up to the Confederations Cup.

A sixth-minute strike from Liam Boyce decided a contest in which the 96th-ranked All Whites emerged with credit against their 28th-ranked rivals at a sold-out Windsor Park in Belfast.

Northern Ireland had the better of the first half but the second spell was an even contest as coach Anthony Hudson made five changes.

One of those substitutes, Kosta Barbarouses came closest to finding an equaliser.

A defensive blunder in the 71st minute allowed the Wellington Phoenix forward to run onto a Bill Tuiloma through-ball but his angled shot struck the post.

It was the high point of a fluent second spell from the visitors, who looked better after Tuiloma was introduced at the break in central midfield, replacing Clayton Lewis.

Hudson, who started with a 3-5-2 formation, surprised by starting Michael McGlinchey in a deep midfield role and his Phoenix teammate Andrew Durante as the central defender, ahead of Themi Tzimopolous.

Marco Rojas started alongside captain Chris Wood up front while Tom Doyle and Kip Colvey won the contentious wing back starting roles.

They looked out of sorts early on, most notably when Boyce was able to outwit three defenders when cutting back in the leadup to his goal.

His left-foot drive also wrong-footed goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.

Michael McGovern botched a good chance moments later for Northern Ireland while striker James Magennis went close twice in the second spell.

Northern Ireland were using the match to prepare for a World Cup qualifying match next week against Azerbaijan.

New Zealand's second warm-up match is against Dublin club side Cabinteely FC on Tuesday before they face Belarus in Minsk six days later.

Their Confederations Cup opener is against hosts Russia on June 17.

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