New Zealand are in pole position to reach the Oceania World Cup qualifying playoff after drawing 0-0 against New Caledonia on Tuesday.
The All Whites had already beaten their opponents 2-0 in the reverse fixture in Auckland on Saturday, and ensured they preserved that advantage by taking a point in Kone.
New Caledonia had applied most of the pressure, but their hopes were dented when captain Bertrand Kai was dismissed 15 minutes from time for a headbutt on Ryan Thomas after reacting to a tackle by the New Zealand winger.
It means New Zealand will definitely top the group if they take four points from the double header against Fiji in March. The two group winners playoff for the right to face the fifth-placed team in South America for a place at the World Cup finals.
Fiji have yet to begin their campaign, with their double header against New Caledonia set for next June.