All Whites coach Ricki Herbert.
The All Whites have ended their 2012 campaign with a
well-earned 1-1 draw in Shanghai courtesy of a Chris Wood
equaliser two minutes before half time.
All Whites coach Ricki Herbert was pleased with the way his
new look side went about their business and felt they were
unlucky not to come away with a win at Shanghai Hongkou
"We had a number of our senior players not here tonight, so
it was a huge challenge for the young boys that stepped out.
At the end of the day on chances we probably should have won
it," said Herbert.
China took the advantage just after the half-hour mark after
a Peng Zhao header squeezed between Michael McGlinchey and
Mark Paston from a China corner.
The lead last just eight minutes when Wood restored parity
with his eighth goal in his last eight international matches.
The Millwall man took advantage of some slack goalkeeping
from Dalei Wang to head home a Marco Rojas free kick just
before the interval.
Wood could have given the All Whites the lead in stoppage
time after neat build up work from Rojas allowed him to slip
Tony Lochhead in, but Wood couldn't connect with his driven
Rojas and Kosta Barbarouses became more influential as the
game wore on driving at the China defence and creating
opportunities for Wood and Tim Payne, with the latter denied
by a smart save by Wang just before the hour.
China threatened on the break in the first half but offered
little in the second spell for captain Tommy Smith and the
rest of New Zealand's rearguard.
"I thought they were more of a counter-attacking team and we
had more of the ball. We were passing it around well and
created a few chances and we feel like we should have won the
game," said Smith.
Leo Bertos won his 50th 'A' international cap coming on as a
66th minute substitute along as Herbert cleared his bench
giving time to Jeremy Brockie, Shane Smeltz, Ivan Vicelich
and 17-year-old Cam Howieson.
The All Whites will now refocus on the Fifa World Cup
qualifiers in March next year with the crucial home fixture
against New Caledonia offering the possibility of wrapping up
Oceania's place in the intercontinental playoff before the
away match in the Solomon Islands.
The winner of the Oceania group will play the fourth placed
CONCACAF side in a home-and-away playoff in November 2013.