New Zealand holds off Colombia; Erceg sees red

The Equalizer Staff August 6, 2016 6

Amber Hearn’s goal in the 31st minute held up to lift New Zealand to a 1-0 win over Colombia on Saturday at the Belo Horizonte, but the loss of captain Abby Erceg could prove costly to the Football Ferns’ hopes of making the quarterfinals.

Erceg was curiously sent off in the 88th minute for what hardly even looked like a foul. It’s unclear what referee Gladys Lengwe saw:

The red card means that Erceg will miss New Zealand’s final group-stage match against France on Tuesday. With the victory over Colombia on Saturday, New Zealand could go through to the quarterfinals on 3 points, but the advancement to the last eight of the two best third-place teams could come down to the first tiebreaker, which is goal difference. New Zealand lost 2-0 to the United States to open the Rio 2016 Olympics.

France defeated Colombia, 4-0 earlier in the week and lost 1-0 to the United States on Saturday.

[MORE: Lloyd lifts USWNT past France  |  Australia, Germany draw 2-2]

“When she brought out the red card, surprise would be an under-statement and disappointment would be an under-statement,” New Zealand coach Tony Readings said.

“We are going to do everything we can to overturn that red card.”

Readings said referees make mistakes in football, but “if there’s any integrity in this tournament, they’ll find a way to overturn that red card.

“It’s a massive tournament we’ve all worked hard for and for someone to miss a game due to a referee’s mistake, it shouldn’t happen.

“We’re very hopeful we can overturn it.”

  • Lorehead

    What an awful call.

  • Lorehead

    New Zealand is still in a good position to go through if it can pull off the upset against France, if China beats Sweden and New Zealand can avoid getting blown out, or (less likely) Australia can’t put away Zimbabwe.

    • Steglitz49

      After Sweden let in 5 goals and only scored 1 against Brazil, and China lost 0-3 to Brazil, there is every hope for NZ.

      Pia’s selection and tactics continue to be bizarre. Maybe they can get it right against China because a draw is enough — for both teams.

      • Teresabmacek4

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  • Andy

    So, the correct call would’ve been a yellow card on Ariza for flopping. This is the sort of thing that makes the men’s game a pain to watch sometimes. Terrible refs are why players try this sort of crap. Hopefully this ref is never seen on the international level again.

  • MurderOnZidanesFloor

    If the red isn’t overturned before the France game I’m going to be so annoyed. It wasn’t even a foul. New Zealand already got screwed by the refs at the World Cup.

    Great to watch New Zealand pick up the win though. They were just too organised for Colombia to break down. Amber Hearn reliable in front of goal as usual. Still hope for the knockout stages!