DEFENDING champions New Zealand hammered Papua New Guinea 5-0 to get their Oceania Football Confederation Under-20 campaign off to a flying start in Lautoka yesterday.
The Junior All Whites, featuring experienced players who represent teams in the A League and English League, controlled the game.
Papua New Guinea goalkeeper Charles Lepani put on a heroic display making numerous saves to prevent New Zealand from raking a bigger scoring margin.
New Zealand led 3-0 at the break and scored two late goals to seal their win.
Poor finishing proved to be the downfall for the Papua New Guinea team as their strikers failed to get the ball past New Zealand goalkeeper Scott Basalaj even from close range.
New Zealand coach Chris Milicich praised Lepani for his outstanding effort.
He said the three points were important.
"We missed many goals but the pleasing thing was that we controlled the game," Milicich said.
"We moved the ball well and took those five chances. But their goalkeeper had an absolute blinder."