Kiwis draw 2-2 at U20 World Cup
Thu, 23 Aug 2012 6:16a.m.
New Zealand clung on to force a 2-2 draw with Japan and move within sight of qualifying for the under-20 women's soccer World Cup in Japan.
Following their opening 2-1 win over Switzerland, New Zealand expected a tougher encounter against the tournament hosts on Thursday (NZT).
They got it but managed to squeeze a point out of the match in Miyagi, meaning they only need a draw in their final pool match against Mexico in Kobe on Sunday to advance to the knockout phase.
The Junior Football Ferns silenced the crowd when they led 2-0 inside the opening 15 minutes, through a Japan own goal and a classy strike from captain Rosie White.
Japan dominated the majority of the game from there and forged goals to Yoko Tanaka soon before halftime and Ayaka Michigami with 19 minutes to play.
New Zealand coach Aaron McFarland said the result helped wipe the memory of a 6-0 loss to Japan at the under-17 World Cup two years ago - a match which involved many of his players.
"There was a lot of emotional baggage from previous bad experiences playing Japan so to get a result against them is an amazing confidence builder for our players and they are feeling ecstatic," McFarland said.
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23/08/2012 1:39:56 p.m.
Magic - Great effort, well done.
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