New Zealand stun Slovakia with late equaliser

New Zealand 1 Slovakia 1

Winston Reid headed in an injury-time goal today to give New Zealand a 1-1 draw with Slovakia at the World Cup.

Shane Smeltz crossed the ball for Reid to head in at the near post, giving New Zealand its first point at a World Cup after going winless in its debut in 1982.



Robert Vittek had given Slovakia the lead in the 50th minute, heading in a cross from Stanislav Sestak.



Vittek nearly doubled the lead in the 69th on a counterattack, but goalkeeper Mark Paston was quick off his line and made the save.



All four teams have one point in Group F. Italy and Paraguay drew 1-1 yesterday.



Both New Zealand and Slovakia are regarded as outsiders in South Africa, and after today's ragged performance, they will both struggle against their group rivals.



Slovakia, who upset the Czech Republic and Poland in qualifying, were the more polished team and created most of the game's scoring chances.



New Zealand's tight man-to-man marking choked Slovakia's disjointed attempts to move forward in the early stages, while the tall Kiwi strikers menaced the Slovakian defense but struggled to create clear opportunities.



With neither team able to produce entertaining football, the crowd occasionally put down their vuvuzelas to do the wave.



Sestak cut into the area in the 27th to meet a pass from Vladimir Weiss but sent his shot just past Mark Paston's left post.



Paston miscued a clearance in the 33rd, allowing Vittek to pounce, but the Slovakia striker dawdled on the ball and was closed down by the Kiwi defense.



Rory Fallon put Smeltz into scoring position inside the Slovakian area in the 38th but he sent the ball into the side netting, then Paston tipped a curling shot from Marek Hamsik over the bar.



Vittek's goal spurred Slovakia while New Zealand still couldn't develop any forward momentum.



Sestak was a constant threat for the New Zealand's central defensive pair. He set up Hamsik for a clear shot in the 64th but the Slovakian captain scooped the ball high over the bar.



Slovakia looked poised to extend its lead when a counter-attack had the New Zealand backpedalling before Vittek squandered his chance in front of goal.



The Kiwis replaced Chris Killen with Chris Wood in the 71st, though it was Smeltz who in the final minutes missed the first clear chance to equalize when he headed wide from close range.



The 38,646-capacity Royal Bafokeng Stadium was only two-thirds full for the match.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable