Kiwis snatch a point thanks to 93rd minute Winston Reid goal
New Zealand stunned Slovakia with a 93rd minute equaliser to secure a 1-1 draw in World Cup Group F.
New Zealand began brightly and Slovakia seemed content to let the Kiwis have possession for the first fifteen or twenty minutes as they eased themselves into the match and it wasn’t until the 22nd minute that Slovakia had their first sight of goal, with Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik curling an ambitious effort wide of the left hand post.
Moments later Vladimir Weiss injected some pace into the game with a driving run towards the edge of the New Zealand penalty area. The Manchester City youngster then played in Stanislav Sestak who fired just wide.
As the half wore on Slovakia became more and more dominant, with Robert Vittek firing in a long range effort after 35 minutes that came close to breaking the deadlock, before Vittek forced a corner, from which New Zealand goalkeeper Mark Paston blundered when coming from the ball and was lucky to escape without conceding a goal.
Paston was tested from long range by Hamsik just before half-time as Slovakia began to exert more dominance on the game, although to no avail as the sides went into the break level.
Slovakia started the second half as they finished the first and opened the scoring just 5 minutes after the break. Stanislav Sestak whipped in a ball from the right that found Robert Vittek free in the penalty area and the Lille striker glanced his header into the corner of the net.
After going behind New Zealand began to look very shaky and Marek Hamsik should have done better with a shot from the edge of the penalty area after good work again by Sestak. Vittek came close to doubling his tally after 69 minutes, but a great block from Winston Reid prevented the goal.
It looked like only a matter of time before Slovakia scored again, with Weiss, Sestak and Hamsik causing huge problems for the Kiwis’ defence, however, after two of those three were substituted, New Zealand were handed a route back into the game.
First Shane Smeltz headed wide in the 88th minute when he should have scored, then with only seconds of injury time remaining, Winston Reid popped from an almost identical position to head in the equaliser and give New Zealand a barely deserved first ever World Cup point.