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New Zealand wins OFC U19 championship

New Zealand have won the OFC U-19 Championship 2022 after a 3-0 win over Fiji at Stade Pater in Papeete, Tahiti. The Junior All Whites finished the tournament with 33 goals and a clean sheet, given none of their opponents were able to score against them.

A brace from Oliver Colloty and a long-range strike from Jay Herdman secured the Junior All Whites their eighth title despite Fiji’s brave effort.

New Zealand have won the last five OFC U-19 Championships they have entered. The only blemish is the 2014 edition, which they did not enter. Fiji won on that occasion, making this a clash between the past two champions.

It was New Zealand who started strongest, Colloty looking a threat from the start. Fiji goalkeeper Aydin Mustahib pulled off a fine reaction save to deny the New Zealand striker after 10 minutes before Colloty blazed over from close range minutes later.

But Colloty soon had the goal his performance deserved, heading home Oliver Fay’s perfect cross for 1-0.

The New Zealand U19 beat Fiji to win the OFC U19 Championship. Picture Phototek-OFC
New Zealand have won the OFC U-19 Championship 2022 after a 3-0 win over Fiji at Stade Pater in Papeete, Tahiti. Picture: Phototek-OFC

A few minutes later and the striker secured his second to make it 2-0. Fay was again the provider, this time Colloty taking a controlling touch on his head before nodding a tidy finish over Mustahib.

Colloty’s brace ensured he and teammate Kian Donkers will share the Golden Boot award with nine goals each. Fiji came out firing in the second-half and nearly became the first team to score past New Zealand at this tournament.

However, Lachlan Lal could only hit the post from close range after his tireless work earned a shooting opportunity. Melvin Mani and Nabil Begg then tested New Zealand stopper Henry Gray, as Fiji put in a much-improved second-half display.

Shortly after rattling the crossbar from close range, Herdman sealed the victory, hitting a powerful strike from range which beat Mustahib to ensure New Zealand defended their title from 2018.

Both teams will now turn their attentions to the FIFA U-20 World Cup Indonesia 2023™ in May-June next year after qualifying as the two highest placed nations at the OFC U-19 Championship 2022.

New Zealand coach Darren Bazeley said it was a proud moment for the team as the tournament had been a gruelling one and fatigue showed in the final game.

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