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Former Arsenal striker Joel Campbell’s third-minute goal was enough to confirm a third successive World Cup for Costa Rice.
But New Zealand will feel hard done by after having an equaliser chalked off by VAR for a foul in the build-up to Chris Wood putting the ball in the back of the net in the 39th minute.
A check found that Matthew Garbett had fouled Oscar Duarte in what looked a harsh decision. A VAR check also led to a 69th-minute red card for Kosta Barbarouses, leaving the Kiwis down to 10 men.
The playoff between the fourth-placed team in the CONCACAF region and the Oceania confederation winner, at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, brought to an end the qualifying campaign for the 2022 finals in Qatar, which run from November 2 to December 18.
Additional reporting by Reuters.