Tokyo Olympics: OlyWhites make history with first Games victory over South Korea

Still 24 hours out from the official start of the Tokyo Olympics, Burnley striker Chris Wood has already shot the NZ men's football team to a piece of history, with 1-0 victory over South Korea in their Group B opener at Ibaraki Kashina Stadium.

Outplayed for much of the contest - and almost all the first half - the OlyWhites only managed two shots, compared to 12 by the Asian champions, and only one on goal, but needed no more, as they now eye the knockout rounds.

Korea enjoyed 73 percent possession over the opening 45 minutes, content to build pressure on the Kiwis and creating several opportunities that they were unable to capitalise on.

After halftime, NZ coach Danny Hay seemed to give his players freedom to attack and that finally paid dividends in the 70th minute, when Liberato Cacace played the ball across goal, finding Elijah Just, who had his left-foot shot partially blocked by defence.

But the ball bobbled to Wood in front of goal, where he expertly controlled and nudged past Korea keeper Bumkeun Song for New Zealand's third goal in three Olympic visits. Wood also scored in a 1-1 draw with Egypt at London 2012.

This goal was initially disallowed for offside, but video replay officials overruled that decision, sending the OlyWhites into raptures.

While waiting for the decision, Hay had already inserted striker Ben Waine to ramp up the quest for a goal and suddenly found himself in attack mode, while defending a lead.

Meanwhile, Korea threw the kitchen sink at the Kiwis, making six substitutions in their bid to salvage a draw, but to no avail.

NZ goalkeeper Michael Woud was called on to make several saves, but kept a clean sheet in a result that now puts his team in the boxseat to advance for the first time.

The Asian champions were probably favoured to head Group B, which also saw Romania defeat Honduras 1-0 to open their account.

New Zealand next face the Central Americans - semi-finalists at Rio 2016 - on Sunday.

New Zealand 1 (Wood 70') South Korea 0

Coming up Friday

While the Tokyo Olympics will officially begin with the opening ceremony scheduled for 11pm NZ, Kiwi rowers will begin their medal quest, with heats in single sculls, double sculls and quad sculls.

Single sculler Emma Twigg hopes to reach the podium, after finishing fourth at the last two Olympics, while double sculls world champion Brooke Donoghue has a new partner - Hannah Osborne - in her quest for gold.

Rookie men's sculler Jordan Parry faces the daunting prospect of defending a legacy that saw Olympic legend Mahe Drysdale prevail at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

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