A late deflection from Phil Burrows has seen the New Zealand men's hockey team make a winning start to the World Cup, beating Korea 2-1 this morning (NZ Time) in The Hague.
Two minutes from fulltime, the experienced Kiwi striker proved the hero after hitting home the deflection from Kane Russell's drag flick to ensure his side banked all three competition points.
It was a fitting finish given the way the Kiwis opened the match with Steve Edwards scoring just 11 seconds into the game after a superb tactical call to charge up field from the opening whistle.
New Zealand dominated the remainder of the first half but Korea were able to mount a strong comeback in the second period. They equalised through a Kim Seongkyu field goal with six minutes left on the clock.
Black Sticks coach Colin Batch said it was pleasing to come away with the result after being under pressure throughout the second half.
"I'm very pleased with the win. The guys wanted to start well and we certainly did that to come away with all three points," he said.
"We did well at the start of the game scoring in the first 20 seconds but I think sometimes if you score early there's a tendency to be comfortable with the situation. I don't think it was a conscious thing but Korea did mount pressure on us and had a lot of possession.
Batch said they dealt with the pressure well after Korea levelled and was rapt to have gained full points from the game.
"We responded well and I thought once they equalised we played our best period of the second half so to reply with another goal was very pleasing."
The Black Sticks men play South Africa in their second pool game on Wednesday 4th June at 12:30am (NZ time).
In other results today, fellow Pool B opponents Netherlands defeated Argentina 3-1 while Germany cruised past South Africa 4-0.
Meanwhile, the Black Sticks women are up against Korea at 12:30am tomorrow morning (NZ time) in Pool A.
New Zealand 2 (Steve Edwards, Phil Burrows) Korea 1 (Kim Seongkyu)
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