The men's Junior Black Sticks remain undefeated in the Sultan of Johor Cup after beating hosts Malaysia 5-2 in Johor Bahru last night.
In front of 7000 spectators, the national under-21 side put together a strong performance which coach Grant Edwards thought was a definite step up from their opening 3-3 draw with Pakistan.
''I was pleased with our pass rate, speed and attack. Defensively, I thought the team was well organised, marked tightly and denied Malaysia the chance to attack,'' he said.
New Zealand scored in the 17th minute as Canterbury’s Angus Hazlett passed to Ben Radovonich who deflected it into the goal.
The next two goals came from Malaysia – a penalty stroke and then a successfully converted penalty corner – to give the hosts a 2-1 lead.
But New Zealand fought back and scored twice in two minutes - Brennan Alexander–Parker found a loose ball in the circle and tapped it in and then Radonovich scored his second goal of the game as the Kiwis led 3-2 at the break.
New Zealand continued to dominate in the second half with goals coming from Kane Russell in the 47th minute and Michael Ritchie, who used his speed to weave through the Malaysian defence and score in the 52nd minute.
Playes to earn the coach's plaudits were were Ritchie and Radonovich at the attacking end and Trent Lett, Scott Kearney and Russell in defence.
New Zealand's next match is against Germany tomorrow night. Germany are bottom of the table, having been beaten 3-2 by Malaysia and 3-1 by India.
Will Shane Cameron beat Kali Meehan on Saturday?