By SIMON ABANA
SOLOMON Islands road to Russia is now an uphill mission after the national side went down to New Zealand 6-1 away at the QBE stadium last night.
Captain Chris Wood led by example with a hat-trick to put the hosts in the driving seat in the World Cup qualifiers.
New Zealand took a comfortable 3-0 lead as both teams went back into the dressing room at half time.
Solomon Islands best moment of the match saw Benjamin Totori breaks on the counter attack to earn a penalty.
Veteran midfielder Henry Fa’arodo step forward to take the spot kick.
The captain made no mistake from the spot in the 53 minute to reduce the deficit to 3-1.
Feni Gagame solo effort in the 60 minute was denied by a touch by New Zealand custodian Morinovic.
Nelson Sale reckless tackle on Musa provide a platform for English Premier League striker Wood to complete his hat-trick in the 3 minutes added time.
Solomon Islands coach Felipe Vega-Arango in the post match conference said they were beaten by the better team.
“Well not much to say they were better than us, we’re an amateur team they are a professional team.
“I think the first goal we were a little bit unlucky because the rebound goes to the guy who make a lot of money on the pitch.
“Three noting first half and in the second half I think we were a little better in the beginning as we scored the penalty.
“Right after the penalty they scored another goal in another defensive mistake and I think the game was over right there to be honest with you.
The Spaniard said goal keeper Mango was the standout player in the game.
“6-1 which it could have been 9-1, I am not afraid to admit it because Philip Mango the goal keeper was wonderful he did a several good saves.
“I mean New Zealand was superior than us and not much to say, we lost and they win this is football.
“The gap between two teams is pretty easy to see, like the gap between Oceania football and European football is easier to see as well, so it is what it is,” he said.
Vega-Arango admits it’s over for the national side since it’s impossible to beat New Zealand with more than five goals.
His compatriot Anthony Hudson said he was pleased with the result.
“You this type of game is always tricky and I think overall really pleased with the score line but disappointed with the penalty.
“I thought the team pass the ball really well and I think we probably let them off the hock a few times tonight,” the English man stated.
The national team return home today for the second leg on Tuesday next week.
Coach says they were beaten by the better side
By SIMON ABANA