Sligo Rovers duo Pijnaker and Mata feature in New Zealand’s win over China

Left to right, Sligo Rovers' Nando Pijnaker and Max Mata both played for New Zealand in their friendly win over China. Pic: Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile.

Sligo Rovers duo Nando Pijnaker and Max Mata both featured in New Zealand’s 2-1 friendly win over China in Wellington.

Pijnaker started at centre-back to help New Zealand end a seven-game scoring drought to hand China defeat.

An own goal from Zhu Chenjie and Matthew Garbett's late second earned the All Whites their first win in almost a year.

Zhu headed Marco Rojas' 42nd minute free kick into his own net to give New Zealand their first goal since securing a 5-0 win over the Solomon Islands in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup finals last March.

The goal came after Alex Grieve had squandered the chance to put New Zealand ahead from the penalty spot eight minutes earlier, Yan Junling saving a poorly taken spot-kick following Wu Shaocong's foul on Elijah Just.

The Bit O’Red’s in-form striker Mata was then introduced as a second half substitute and Garbett added the second in the 82nd minute when he controlled Joe Bell's pass on his chest before slotting past Yan with a well-taken left-foot finish.

The Chinese claimed a consolation two minutes into injury time as substitute Ba Dun bulletted a header into the top corner of Oli Sail's goal.