New Zealand is considering a bid for the 2020 Futsal World Cup. The venue or precise logistics around the bid have yet to be resolved, but what is certain is that futsal is a sport experiencing massive growth, particularly at the secondary school level where the recent NZSS Championships were well attended and hotly contested. Annual growth in futsal has been around 25 percent annually for each of the past five years.
The Futsal World Cup has been running since 1989. New Zealand has never qualified in eight attempts, but have been close finishing runners-up in the Oceania tournament three times.
The last World Cup was held in Colombia and won for the first time by Argentina. The event was attended by 139,307 spectators, an average of 2,679 per match.
Winning hosting rights for the World Cup would be a massive fillet for a sport on the rise. Jack Piper from Capital Futsal is at the forefront of Futsal’s growth and spoke to College Sport Media about its growth, administrative challenges and plans. Piper is typically a goalkeeper for Petone in the Central League.
What is the appeal of Futsal?
It’s an alternative format to football that can be played year round. We’ve seen a lot of sports like sevens and floorball emerge to increase engagement in the youth space. There has been a drop off in youth participation numbers in traditional sports so futsal is a quicker way of keeping youth involved while retaining the essence of football.
What are the differences in rules from normal football?
It’s five a side with a goalkeeper. The rules are relatively similar to football, but there are subtle differences. Instead of a throw-in, there is a kick-in. The ball used is slightly heavier than the one outside and if you concede five fouls a half it’s an automatic penalty. Most games are played on a netball sized court, senior league courts are slightly bigger.
How many teams are there in Wellington and how are competitions structured?
There are 300 teams in Wellington, 215 of which are in the high school space. The season runs opposite to football in terms one and four. In terms two and three we are starting primary school leagues which is an exciting new development. Junior and adult leagues are typically played at Walter Nash Stadium, Lower Hutt, Te Rauparaha Arena, Porirua and the ASB Sports Centre, Wellington.
How much does it cost to play?
To enter a junior team in a six week league it costs about $250. One of the best things about futsal is that it’s relatively cheap to play. Our greatest expense is around court hire and with so many court sports that can be tricky, but were lucky we have strong relationships with the local authorities which helps keep costs down.
What is the relationship like between NZ Football and NZ Futsal?
In 2011, futsal was included under the New Zealand Football administrative umbrella. This has greatly increased the funding and attention Futsal receives. There are lots of skills which transition from futsal to football. Todd Bryant is the manager for the overall development and growth of futsal in Wellington. He has done a great job expanding numbers and building relationships within the local community.
Is the National Secondary Schools Championships Futsal’s biggest event?
Yes it is. There are over 60 teams competing nationwide, every court at the ASB Centre has been full the last few years. It’s a great atmosphere and an amazing spectacle. The standard is getting higher all the time. Capital were delighted with their results this year. Wellington schools won three of the four titles available.
Who are the strongest senior teams in New Zealand?
Wellington has never won a National championship, but we’ve been second a number of times and always produce a competitive team. Mainland, Auckland and Northern are typically the strongest sides. At the high performance level futsal is a growing sport, but were really encouraged by the number of quality youngsters coming through and the growing competitiveness of the National League.
Tell us about the World Cup bid?
I can’t say a lot about that, but it’s something were exploring. Futsal is a sport enjoying massive growth. It’s a very exciting time to be involved.
Shannon Lucas won the Golden Glove award as the best goalkeeper at the National Secondary Schools Futsal tournament last week. Two years ago it was uncertain whether the Rongotai College First XI footballer would ever kick a ball again.
“I tore an ACL in the first five minutes of a game jumping into the air to make a save. My right leg was off the ground and the opposing striker accidentally crashed into my left leg which was still on the ground. I felt a snap right away,” Lucas bemoans.
Lucas was sidelined for the best part of two years, but found solace and strength in rowing.
“I discovered rowing was a way of strengthening the muscle and I really got into it. I had some success and it was an amazing experience, but I’m better at football,” Lucas reveals.
Lucas is a Capital Futsal representative and believes his inclusion in that programme along with some of his Rongotai teammates explains the success of his school in futsal this year. Rongotai finished runners up to Wellington College at Nationals, but beat the same opposition in the local final.
“I think we’ve bonded strongly as a team this season and the boys in the Capital team have been able to transfer some of the skills learnt at a higher level to Rongotai which has been awesome,” Lucas enthuses.
Last Friday, Rongotai was narrowly beaten by Wellington 2-0 in the National final. Lucas made a series of exceptional saves. He was proud of the Rongotai effort.
“We were disappointed to lose, but the intensity of that match was an amazing experience and we left everything out there. We beat Hamilton Boys’ 2-1 in the semi-final and that was another highlight of the week,” Lucas says.
Two days later the same teams met in the final of the Wellington league. Wellington had beaten Rongotai three times this season and initially it appeared history would repeat itself again.
“We were chasing the whole game. Three times we fell behind, three times we equalised. We were keen prove ourselves and it was a team effort to beat them,” Lucas acclaims.
Rongotai won 7-6 on penalties.
“I managed to save Wellington’s second shot, but then one of our shooters missed and was 2-2 going into sudden death. I saved another shot and they missed again so we won,” Lucas reflects.
Lucas is a restless figure in goal and explains the method to his madness.
“I need to be on my toes all the time. When the ball is headed towards me, I’m thinking about any number of possibilities. Will he shot? Will he pass? Do I have to go left? Do I have to go right? Things happen quickly and it can get pretty crazy,” Lucas laughs.
Lucas sported a shaved head for the final sponsoring a cancer fundraiser.
Lucas has been playing futsal for less than three years. In 2017, Lucas was the Golden Gloves winner at the National U16 tournament.
The National Secondary Schools boys Futsal finals were decided at the ASB Sports Centre in Wellington this afternoon. College Sport Media watched the action.
Senior Final: Wellington College: 2 v Rongotai College: 0
Wellington College backed up their local success by capturing the National title, edging Rongotai College 2-0. The ASB Sports Centre is across the road from Rongotai College so headmaster Kevin Carter honourably dismissed his school early to create a bumper atmosphere for the climax.
The Rongotai crowd appeared to distract Wellington goalie Toby Hunt in the opening minutes. Hunt inexplicably walked over the top of a gently rolling ball headed goal bound. He was was lucky not to concede as the ball slithered past the post.
Hunt quickly regained his concentration and produced a series of top shelf saves to preserve a clean sheet.
His oppositee Shannon Lucas won the golden glove award as the best goal keeper in the tournament. At times, Lucas was more flexible than a pilates instructor as both teams struggled to find the back of the net.
The best chance in the first ten minutes fell the way of Rongotai's Abdi Jama who nudged the ball wide-right when Hunt was stranded.
Wellington was more polished with possession than Rongotai, who at times appeared rushed.
Wellington's Seth Ward was named tournament MVP and two clinical finishes in each half illustrated his prowess. On two occasions Ward received the ball on the left side and was able to maneuver past his marker to establish open looks which were seized upon emphatically.
Matthew Peden was a trojan for Rongotai and Will Forrest dynamic for Wellington.
There are 390 boys who play fustal at Wellington College.
In the playoff for third, Scots College, Wellington beat Hamilton Boys' High School 6-4. Hamilton's Kyle Kirsten won the golden boot award scoring 15 goals throughout the tourney.
Earlier in the week, Palmerston North Girls' High School won the senior female title.
Junior Final: Scots College, Wellington: 5 v Napier Boys' High School: 4
Scots College claimed the junior crown with a pulsating 5-4 triumph over Napier Boys' High School.
The winning moment occurred with 1:48 remaining when a rebounded shot left the Napier defence stretched and tournament MVP Kosei Okiawa an open net.
The initial block by Sam Lack, not much bigger than the match ball, epitomised the bravery of Napier's effort. Lack was nearly decapitated but unlike the Wellington Phoneix, rose from the ashes to take one last desperate shot on the Scots goal.
Scots started faster than a Ferrari in Strathmore surging to a 3-0 lead. Leo Crockett, the 'Socrates of Scots,' was the primary source of Scots ascendancy. He scored two goals and created ample forward momentum with his astute touches, though ironically Crockett's worst shot found the back of the net. A slice off the right side of the boot wriggled across the floor like a snail, hitting the post and trickling in.
There was nothing subtle about Baylee Foote's approach. The bleach blonde Napier striker is aptly named given the ferocity of his striking. A left-foot thunderbolt opened Napier's account and it was 3-1 at halftime.
Foote showed he could unleash off the right-foot to and reduced the deficit to 3-2 shortly after the interval. Scots was clearly rattled and it was soon 3-3 when two of their defenders got into a tangle and donated a tap in for Byron Stothers.
Napier relentlessly peppered the Scots goal with a series of missiles that would have had the United Nations concerned.
However it was Scots who reclaimed the lead when the stocky Wynn Skinner bowled through congestion like a Mack Truck and willed his team ahead.
Napier refused to surrender and inspiringly their seniors started a "Sky Blue" chat which was soon echoed by the majority of the crowd, most of whom were visiting teams. Perhaps it was a protest at the bleak weather outside, but most likely they wanted to see extra time and Stothers created that possibly when he equalised to make it 4-4.
Scots regrouped and the cool Okiawa appropriately had the last say of a blockbuster contest.
The golden boot was won by Calum Murdoch from St Thomas of Canterbury College. He scored 20 goals, averaging more than two a match. The golden glove recipient was Napier's Oscar Mason.
Wellington East College won the junior female title on Tuesday.
After playing three internationals over the past last year, Anna Leat is back at school at Rangitoto College and back in the Football Ferns squad that plays two internationals against Scotland against Spain next month.
Leat is one of three goalkeepers in the 21-player squad. She made her international debut at home in Auckland just over a year ago against Thailand, making a number of telling saves early in the game which proved crucial in the 2-0 win.
She was a member of the New Zealand U17s World Cup squad in 2016 and is eligible this year to play for the New Zealand U17s and U20s in their World Cups.
Head coach Heraf and Assistant Coach Gareth Turnbull will use this tour to build on their good start of their time in charge in November. New Zealand defeated Thailand 5-0 in their second international in Bangkok. It was the biggest win by New Zealand against opposition from outside of Oceania since 1993.
The World No 19 will take on the Scottish women, ranked No 23 in the world, on Saturday 3 March and Tuesday 6 March at the Pinatar Football Arena in San Pedro del Pinatar in Spain.
“It is an exciting squad,” said Heraf. “We have a good balance of experience and players who are at the start of their international careers and will bring a lot of enthusiasm to the group. There is everything to play for with the players fighting for places in the squad to compete at next year’s FIFA World Cup in France.”
Emma Rolston comes in for her first Football Ferns tour while other recently-capped players like Victoria Esson, Leat, Malia Steinmetz, Katie Rood and Stephanie Skilton, who made their international debuts in 2017, are retained.
Forward Rosie White (foot), midfielder Daisy Cleverley (knee) and winger Paige Satchell (knee) were ruled out through injury.
New Zealand last faced Scotland in March last year in the Cyprus Cup where they went down 3-2 with Amber Hearn and White on the scoresheet for the Ferns.
Football Ferns squad for internationals against Scotland (Club, Country, Caps, Goals)
Victoria Esson (North Shore United) 1, 0
Anna Leat (Glenfield Rovers) 3, 0
Erin Nayler (Girondins Bordeaux, France) 51, 0
CJ Bott (USV Jena, Germany) 8, 0
Abby Erceg (North Carolina Courage, USA) 131, 6
Anna Green (Reading, England) 65, 7
Meikayla Moore (FC Koln, Germany) 24, 0
Ali Riley © (FC Rosengard, Sweden) 113, 1
Rebekah Stott (Melbourne City, Australia) 61, 4
Katie Bowen (Unattached) 49, 2
Olivia Chance (Everton, England) 8, 0
Betsy Hassett (KR Reykjavik, Iceland) 102, 8
Annalie Longo (Cashmere Technical) 103, 10
Ria Percival (FC Basel, Switzerland) 128, 13
Emma Rolston (Sydney FC, Australia) 0, 0
Malia Steinmetz (Forrest Hill Milford United) 1, 0
Sarah Gregorius (Upper Hutt City FC) 82, 25
Amber Hearn (FC Koln, Germany) 122, 54
Katie Rood (Juventus, Italy) 2, 0
Stephanie Skilton (Glenfield Rovers) 3, 0
Hannah Wilkinson (Vittsjo GIK, Sweden) 85, 25
Coaches: Andreas Heraf and Gareth Turnbull
Football Ferns v Scotland international friendlies
Saturday 3 March local kick off 5pm (NZT Sunday 4 March 5am)
Tuesday 6 March local kick off 11.00am (NZT Tuesday 6 March 11:00pm)
Pinatar Football Arena in San Pedro del Pinatar, Spain
A group of current and recent secondary school girl football players recently played an inaugural match for the New Zealand Maori Women’s team against the indigenous Australian representative side.
The result was a resounding 5-0 win for the women's Maori team, while their men’s counterparts also won their corresponding fixture 3-2.
Both games in Auckland on Saturday started with Maori players performing a haka which they had developed during their training camp; while the indigenous Australians responded with a traditional corroboree dance.
Videos of these are online here:
NZ Women- https://www.facebook.com/jlsphotographs/videos/1593418394026559/
NZ Men- https://www.facebook.com/jlsphotographs/videos/1593421607359571/
New Zealand Maori Women’s team featured a group of players returning to school in 2018, with several more 2017 school leavers. The oldest player in the team was 24,while Grace Jale, Brooke Wylie, Steph Trowill, Shae Brady and Samatha Tawharu are all former NZSS football representative players.
Brooke Wylie and Ella Golding were the team's co-captains.
The team was, with current or recent schools of players listed:
Brooke Wylie – Saint Kentigern College
Meripa Seumentafa – Rosehill College
Samantha Tawharu – Mount Albert Grammar School
Grace Jale – Mount Albert Grammar School
Ella Golding – Mount Maunganui College
Macy Brady – Trident High School
Taelor Pickering-Parker- Western Heights High School
Shae Brady- Trident High School
Amy McQuoid- Rangitoto College
Samantha Butler- Rosehill College
Georgia Butler- Rosehill College
Jayden Watts- Waiuku College
Tatjana Timmins-Scanlon - Waiheke High School
Sam Waru- Waitakere College
Rosa Muru- Mount Albert Grammar School
Kalani Walters-Hewson- Kaitaia Abundant Life School
Steph Trowill- Botany Downs Secondary College
Catherine Clark- Marist College
Elizabeth Takerei- St Mary's College
Tara Jackson - Kerikeri High School
Mainland Football has won the Federation Cup for winning the most cumulative points across all age-groups at the recently completed five-day National Age Group football tournament in Wellington.
Mainland Football won the U16 Boys and the U14 Boys, while WaiBOP claimed the U16 Girls, Northern were the U15 Boys winners and Auckland were the U14 Girls champions.
The fifth-annual National Age Group tournament saw the best 630 young players from all seven Football Federations came together in the capital to compete in the fine and hot conditions.
National Age Group Tournament Champions:
Federation Cup Winner – Mainland
Tournament teams (MVPs highlighted):
The All Whites quest to secure a berth in the 2018 FIFA World Cup culminates in Lima on Thursday afternoon when they tackle Peru in the deciding leg of the intercontinental playoff. College Sport Media has covered some wonderful high school football in 2017. Maybe some of these names will feature in similar matches in the near future?
Matt Palmer (Sacred Heart College) - Palmer was the most prolific striker in New Zealand Secondary School football in 2017. He scored 22 goals in 14 Auckland league games alone as Sacred Heart defended the title for the fourth year in a row. Even more impressively Palmer was the leading goal scorer with 11 goals in eight matches at the International School Sport Federation's World Schools Championships in Prague. The event featured 36 teams, 24 countries and 640 players. Palmer competed for New Zealand at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in India.
Keegan Smith - (Scots College) - When Keegan Smith was at Sacred Heart College in Auckland he couldn’t even crack the First XI. Moving south to the capital, Smith hooked up with the Phoenix academy and has made a huge impression starting for the Wellington Phoenix in the A-League as an 18-year-old. Smith is the second youngest player, and the youngest goalkeeper, in the franchise’s history. Additionally he plays for the Wellington United seniors in the Central League and the Phoenix reserves in the ASB Premiership.
Keegan Hansen (Hamilton BHS) - Hamilton Boys’ High School won the National title for the first time and goalkeeper Hansen kept a clean sheet in the semi-finals and the final. In the later fixture against defending champions Sacred Heart College, Hansen also converted the first penalty as Hamilton upset Auckland powerhouse Sacred Heart College. Hansen has been on the fringes of National age group selection and plays senior football for Melville United.
Hannah Blake (St Kentigern College) - The girls First XI at St Kent’s enjoyed an outstanding season winning the College Sport Auckland Championship, Knockout Cup and New Zealand Secondary Schools title in a penalty shootout thriller over defending champions Mount Albert Grammar School. Blake is a prolific striker whose deadly finishing tortured many opponents. Blake was selected for the New Zealand U20 team that won the OFC championship. Blake was the leading scorer at the tourney with eight goals, including the first final.
Grace Jale (Mount Albert Grammar School) - It’s been another top year for Grace Jale, a nomination for the Champion of Champions series in 2016. Though MAGS didn't defend their National title they returned to the final and lost narrowly to St Kentigern College. Jale was absent for much of the season on international duty. In July, Jale was a member of the New Zealand Under-20 team which won the Oceania Qualification Tournament in and will compete at the FIFA World Cup in France next year. Additionally Jale was named MVP of the National Secondary Schools Futsal tournament in Wellington which was won by her school.
Emma Main (St Oran's College) - Emma Main was named College Sport Wellington Footballer of the Year after a stellar season as a striker. Main was a member of the New Zealand Under-19 team who won the Oceania Championship in Auckland to qualify for the 2018 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup. Main was the leading goal scorer at the Oceania champs and bagged four alone in the final. Main plays well above her level in Wellington not only featuring in the St Oran's First XI, but also for the Upper Hutt seniors and the Capital team.
The Champion of Champion series is not intended to be a definitive list of the ‘best’ athletes in each code, rather it celebrates many of the leading athletes and teams in each that College Sport Media has followed this year. Preference has gone to those individuals/teams that CSM has interviewed and profiled in 2017. Got a story? Email email@example.com
The New Zealand U19 representative men’s football team to tour the United States next April.
The team is:
Cam Burnell (New Plymouth Boys’ High School)
Treye Butler (St Thomas of Canterbury College)
Zac Dean (Wellington College)
Caleb Emmens (Hutt Valley High School)
Rory Findlay (Taieri College)
Matt Hickling (Tawa College)
Jake Johnson (Saint Kentigern College)
Ryan Kelly (Hutt Valley High School)
Sean Lane-Turnbull (Rongotai College)
Scott Morris (Rathkeale College)
Rick Muir (Nelson College)
Jaeden Shaw (Palmerston North Boys’ High School)
Owen Smith (Scots College)
Awa Stephenson (Liston College)
Tom Stewart (St Thomas of Canterbury College)
Noah Tipene-Clegg (Scots College)
Thomas Wagner (Rathkeale College)
Edward Wilkinson (Cashmere High School)
Nick Burke (Macleans College)
Danny Mackenzie (Elim Christian College)
Samuel Mitrakas (St Pat’s Town)
Steve Coleman – Coach (Rathkeale College)
Tim Bush – Assistant Coach (Rongotai Collee)
Neil Penfold – Manager (Selwyn College)
Physiotherapist – TBC
New Zealand came close to pulling off a memorable result in their second match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India after coming from behind to lead Paraguay but were undone by a late flurry of goals from the South Americans, eventually falling 4-2 in a thrilling encounter this morning. New Zealand led 2-1 at halftime.
Paraguay 4 (Alan Rodriguez 2’, Anibal Vega 75’, 78’, Blas Armoa 90’ + 1’)
New Zealand 2 (Own goals 20’, 34’)
New Zealand: 12. Jacob Clark (GK), 3. Joshua Rogerson (15. Ben Deeley 46’), 4. Liberato Cacace, 5. Boyd Curry, 6. Leon van den Hoven, 7. Elijah Just (c), 10. Willem Ebbinge (8. Oliver Duncan 79’), 11. Matthew Conroy, 14. Kingsley Sinclair (17. Matthew Palmer 79’), 18. Charles Spragg, 20. Emlyn Wellsmore
Substitutes not used: 1. Zac Jones (GK), 2. Liam Moore, 13. Matthew Jones, 16. Oliver Whyte, 19. Kieran Richards, 21. Nicholas Milner (GK)
Cautions: Liberto Cacace 81’, Ben Deeley 85’
Coach: Danny Hay
will now need to beat African champions Mali in their final Group B game on Thursday to progress to the knockout stages.
Having gone behind early on in that opening match against the Europeans, New Zealand would have been determined to start more strongly on their return to the Dr. DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai but those hopes were dashed in only the second minute. The Kiwis again fond themselves needing to come back from a goal down and it was a bizarre one to concede, Alan Rodriguez shaping up to whip a free kick into the box from wide on New Zealand’s left but somehow managing to loop it all the way over a stranded Jacob Clark and into the far corner.
Just as they had on Friday in their 1-1 draw with Turkey, New Zealand responded well to the early set back though and took just over half an hour to completely turn the score around. They began to exert pressure from the eighth minute when Ebbinge had half of sight of goal from a lofted through ball but lost possession before he could shoot and a pair of Just corners then proved a handful for Paraguay.
As they pressed for the equaliser, New Zealand may well have gone further behind at the other end though, Clark showing good positioning and bravery in the eleventh minute to save a one-on-one effort from Leonard Sanchez at point-blank range.
The first real opportunities for New Zealand to score arrived shortly after, Just relishing the added responsibility of the captaincy to lead by example and fire a shot straight at goalkeeper Diego Huesca from a tight angle. In the follow up, the ball eventually broke to Kingsley Sinclair a few yards outside the area but he curled his ambitious effort well wide.
As it turned out, Hay’s charges did not need to worry about finding the net themselves though as Paraguay captain Alexis Duarte was about to do that for them – and, remarkably, not just once. A nightmare period of play for the defender began on 20 minutes when Paraguay were put under pressure from a well-directed Leon van den Hoven free kick by Kingsley Sinclair and Charles Spragg, forcing the unfortunate Duarte to turn the ball into his own goal.
He did likewise just past the half hour, this time after trademark skill from Just on the left created room for the stand-in skipper to send in a low cross that Duarte could again only force past Huesca to make it 2-1. Clark was called into action seconds later to maintain New Zealand’s new-found lead, making a good save low to his left to deny Leonardo Sanchez before bravely gathering the resulting loose ball.
That enabled the Kiwis to take their hard-fought advantage into the break and, although surviving some scares as Paraguay kept Clark busy with several dangerous balls into the box and a couple of shots on target, it looked like they were odds on for a vital win as the clocked ticked down. They could even have extended their lead just past the hour when another pin-point van den Hoven free kick was met by Spragg – whose older brother Thomas also starred for New Zealand at age-group level – but he could not direct his header under the cross bar.
All that hard work in hauling themselves in front was then undone for New Zealand in the final 15 minutes as the strength in depth available to Paraguay coach Gustavo Morinigo became evident. Anibal Vega and Blas Armoa had both been brought off the bench to try to swing the contest in the South Americans’ favour and they did just that to break the hearts of the New Zealand players.
Vega turned the match on its head in a three-minute spell with a rapid-fire brace, his first coming when he got the better of Clark in a one-on-one duel before he notched again just moments later when meeting a cross to prod home at close range.
Now finding themselves 3-2 down, New Zealand searched desperately for a way back and threw caution to the wind by bringing on both Oliver Duncan and Matthew Palmer and leaving men forward. They nearly earned reward for that when Matthew Conroy flicked a van den Hoven corner onto the underside of the cross bar in the 90th minute but were left short-handed defensively and Armoa took advantage, blasting home Paraguay’s fourth in stoppage time to earn his side’s passage into the knockout stages.
A New Zealand side that finished with 10 men after the last-gasp dismissal of Max Mata started their FIFA U-17 World Cup campaign on a positive vein by drawing 1-1 with Turkey on Saturday morning (NZT).
They play two more pool matches, against Paraguay on Tuesday morning (NZT) and Mali on Friday morning (NZT) – see match details below.
In the build-up to the tournament opener against Turkey, New Zealand captain Mata spoke of the need to begin brightly against a Turkey side renowned for their strong starts to matches. But the Europeans were able to continue that tradition and appeared to adapt more quickly to the soaking conditions as the rain poured down in Mumbai, India.
After riding the storm as Turkey dominated the opening ten minutes, New Zealand issued a reminder of their attacking abilities when Mata played in Elijah Just down the left and he picked out Kingsley Sinclair in the box. But Sinclair was off balance as he struck his effort towards goal and could not make a clean connection as the ball bobbled wide.
New Zealand were made to pay for spurning that opportunity in the 18th minute when danger man Kutucu put Turkey ahead in stunning fashion, showing amazing technique and power to head in a corner from a long way out.
As the heavy rain continued to fall, New Zealand began to grow into the game and finished the half strongly. With Mata, Just and Charles Spragg proving a handful, Hay’s side created a couple of chances, both coming from the pin-point set piece delivery of Leon van den Hoven.
The midfielder showed an uncanny ability to drop his corner kicks right on the six-yard box and Spragg got his head to the first of these but couldn’t direct his header under the cross bar. Clark was then called into action at the other end to beat away a powerful Kutucu shot before a van den Hoven corner again caused problems. It was Mata on the end of it this time, firstly to win a header and then trying to force the ball home at the second attempt but the Turkey defence managed to scramble clear.
New Zealand began the second half more strongly than they had the first and had a penalty appeal waved away after Matthew Conroy went down in the box. But Turkey then came close to extending their lead, Clark throwing out his right hand to make a brilliant reaction save to deny skipper Recep Gul.
New Zealand were becoming the dominant side though and soon had the equaliser their efforts richly deserved, Just showing good awareness to take a free kick quickly and play it into the path of Mata, who finished calmly to make it 1-1 just before the hour mark. Seconds later, Mata was again at the heart of the action after being involved in a physical encounter in the area. He strongly appealed for a penalty but New Zealand’s claims were again turned down.
The New Zealand captain continued to be a central figure, heading a Just free kick over the bar in the 72nd minute being teeing up an opportunity for Spragg, chesting a long throw into his path for the striker to volley narrowly over the cross bar with just over 15 minutes remaining.
That proved to be the Kiwis’ last chance as Turkey finished strongly and they were again indebted to the impressive Clark, who made a vital stop in the 86th minute to keep out a low drive from Kerem Kesgin and make sure his side would secure at least a point.
What would have been a pleasing evening for Hay ended on a sour note though as Mata picked up a second booking with one of the last acts of the game and was therefore dismissed, meaning New Zealand will be without the services of their talismanic skipper for Monday’s clash with Paraguay.
New Zealand 1 (Max Mata 58’)
Turkey 1 (Ahmed Kutucu 18’)
New Zealand: 12. Jacob Clark (GK), 4. Liberato Cacace, 5. Boyd Curry, 6. Leon van den Hoven, 7. Elijah Just, 9. Max Mata (c), 11. Matthew Conroy, 14. Kingsley Sinclair (10. Willem Ebbinge), 15. Ben Deeley, 18. Charles Spragg (17. Matthew Palmer 81’), 20. Emlyn Wellsmore
Substitutes not used: 1. Zac Jones (GK), 2. Liam Moore, 3. Joshua Rogerson, 8. Oliver Duncan, 13. Matthew Jones, 16. Oliver Whyte, 19. Kieran Richards, 21. Nicholas Milner (GK)
Cautions: Max Mata 60’, Boyd Curry 82’
Red card: Max Mata 90’ + 5’
Coach: Danny Hay
Matches to come
New Zealand vs Paraguay
Monday 9 October, 8pm (Tuesday 10 October, 3.30am NZT)
Dr DY Patil Stadium, Mumbai
Live on SKY Sport
New Zealand vs Mali
Thursday 12 October, 5pm (Friday 13 October, 12.30am NZT)
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
Live on SKY Sport
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