Black Sticks men downed by hosts Malaysia
Defending champions New Zealand have suffered their second successive loss at the Sultan Azlan Shah men’s hockey tournament after being downed 2-1 by hosts Malaysia this morning (NZT).
Malaysia, at No 13 ranked seven places below the Black Sticks, were the dominant team throughout the match and deserved the spoils, though the young New Zealand side missing several experienced players went close to snatching an equaliser.
The hosts created several chances without executing in a scoreless first half, but they broke the deadlock five minutes into the second stanza when Chua Boon Huat scored his third goal of the tournament. He flicked the ball into the top of the net when it fell to him after a good pass into the circle.
Just four minutes later a deflection by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin bounced off defender Andy Hayward and past Devon Manchester in goal to put the Kiwis two goals behind.
The Black Sticks finally had some luck in the 65th minute with Shay Neal pulling off a full body dive to deflect in Hayward’s pass from the side’s second penalty corner of the game.
Jared Panchia found the back of the net but the goal was disallowed for a foul, and despite a lift in intensity and a late rally, New Zealand couldn’t find an equaliser.
Malaysia now have two wins from two having beaten Korea in their opening match, while New Zealand have two losses, following a first-up 4-3 defeat to Pakistan.
Black Sticks coach Colin Batch is using the tournament as a development tool, with just three players in the 18-man squad over the age of 23.
Their next match is against Korea at 9pm tomorrow (NZT).
- © Fairfax NZ News