Black Sticks men snatch late win over Korea
A late goal from Phil Burrows saw the New Zealand men's hockey team make a winning start to the World Cup, beating Korea 2-1 in The Hague.
Three minutes from fulltime, the experienced Kiwi striker proved the hero, hitting home the deflection from Kane Russell's drag flick.
It was a fitting finish given the way the Kiwis opened the match with Steve Edwards scoring just 11 seconds into the contest 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 after halftime. They equalised through a Kim Seongkyu field goal with six minutes left on the clock.
Earlier, Korea had a golden chance with 14 minutes to go when they were awarded a penalty stroke, but Jonghyun Jang's effort struck the post.
Black Sticks coach Colin Batch was rapt to come away with victory 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.
"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 did well to recover and notch the winner after Korea levelled.
"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."
Korea have a strong record against the New Zealand men since the 2010 World Cup, which made the win even more satisfying.
The Koreans had won 12 of their past 25 contests against New Zealand, with five draws.
The Black Sticks men play South Africa in their second pool game tomorrow (NZ time).