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OFC World Cup qualifying: New Zealand hold off PNG

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 4 Jun 2012

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New Zealand are all but assured of progressing to the next phase of OFC World Cup qualifying after a 2-1 win over Papua New Guinea on Monday.

New Zealand sealed the win at the Lawson Tama Stadium in 35-degree heat to stay top of Group B, with the qualifying matches also doubling as the Oceania Nations Cup.

Shane Smeltz gave New Zealand a 1-0 lead after two minutes when he headed home a Jeremy Brockie cross, before Bristol City striker Chris Wood added the second in the 53rd minute off a Smeltz pass.

Papua New Guinea pulled one back when substitute Neil Hans scored from the penalty spot two minutes before full-time to send a scare through the New Zealand camp.

The Solomon Islands sit just behind New Zealand in Group B on four points after a goalless draw with Fiji in the other match on Monday.

The winner of the tournament will represent Oceania at the 2013 Confederations Cup while the semi-finalists will all progress to the next stage of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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