New Zealand have earned their first win at the OFC Futsal Championship edging Vanuatu 3-2
Captain Marvin Eakins led the way with a goal in each half to help the Futsal Whites to a crucial three points and keep their championship hopes alive.
Chances in the opening 10 minutes were few and far between as both teams took a cautious approach. Vanuatu’s Ben Hungai and Louis Dominique combined well on attack while the Kiwis looked to him front man Said Solemanpour.
Hungai eventually broke the deadlock in the 16th minute, squeezing his second attempt at goal through the legs of goalkeeper Elias Billeh.
But Eakins hit back three minutes later from a set play to draw the scores level going into the break.
Again it was tight in the opening exchanges of the second period as both teams were largely restricted to long range efforts.
It took some fancy footwork down the left from Lucas Silva to break through the Vanuatu defense as he scored on the half hour mark with a left foot drive.
But Vanuatu hit straight back less that a minute later through Hungai who took his tournament tally to five.
The game became increasingly physical in the latter stages with Matt Chandler’s men receiving two yellow cards in the last five minutes to match Vanuatu’s earlier cautions.
With less than two minutes to go, Eakins stepped up to finish off another clever set play and seal the victory for New Zealand.
In day four action, the Futsal Whites meet Tahiti who are on a winning streak after beating New Caledonia by the same scoreline earlier today.
Vanuatu meanwhile have to regroup quickly as they square off against the Solomon Islands.
To download the match summary of the game, click here.