Kiwis book ticket to South Africa

by Neil Sherwin

A goal from Plymouth Argyle striker Rory Fallon has sent New Zealand to the World Cup for the first time since 1982 as they overcame Bahrain 1-0 on aggregate in a playoff today.

With the sides level at 0-0 after the first leg, Fallon sent the Wellington crowd wild with a headed goal in the 44th minute from a Leo Bertos corner.

At the other end, All Whites’ keeper Mark Paston saved a 50th minute penalty from Sayed Adnan to prevent the loss of an important away goal.

The visitors also had a goal ruled out in 89th minute which would have sent them to their first ever finals.

Captained by Blackburn’s Ryan Nelsen, New Zealand were playing in front of a crowd of over 35,000 at Wespac Stadium and the success will give a lift to a nation where football is still very much an emerging sport.

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