New Zealand put up six in first leg of Oceania qualifying final

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New Zealand closed in on a World Cup qualifying playoff spot by beating Solomon Islands 6-1 on Friday in the opening match of their Oceania final.

Captain Chris Wood scored a hat trick in Auckland ahead of the return leg on Tuesday in Honiara.

The winner of the series will face the fifth-place South American team -- currently Argentina -- for a place at next year's World Cup in Russia.

Wood, who moved to Premier League club Burnley from Leeds this summer, scored twice in the first half while Kosta Barbarouses made it 3-0.

Ryan Thomas took advantage of some poor defending to give New Zealand a 4-0 lead, and Michael McGlinchey scored from a free kick in the 81st minute.

Wood then completed his hat trick in stoppage time.

Winston Reid, a West Ham defender who is the usual New Zealand captain, was unavailable for the match with a calf injury. Shane Smeltz, Tommy Smith and Marco Rojas were also absent.

For Solomon Islands, New Zealand-based striker Micah Lea'alafa was unavailable because of a visa problem.