The Black Sticks Men have lost 2-1 to Belgium in the first of a series of Olympic warm-up matches in Lier, Belgium last night.
Despite dominating the second spell of the unofficial test, the Kiwis couldn’t grab an equaliser after the home side took a 2-1 lead into the halftime break.
Black Sticks coach Shane McLeod said the match was played at a frenetic pace.
“If we’d showed more patience and skill on the ball, I’m sure the result would have been different.”
Belgium took the lead in the 16th minute from a penalty corner and the Black Sticks responded a minute later with their own penalty corner goal. A drag flick from Andy Hayward hit the crossbar and Simon Child latched on to the rebound to level the scores.
The Belgians regained the lead in the 26th minute with a field goal and managed to hold the one goal margin for the rest of the match.
McLeod felt his team would be a lot sharper for today’s second test after only arriving in Belgium three days ago.
The Black Sticks face the Belgians in a second friendly in Brussels tonight, before two unofficial tests against the Netherlands in Utrecht on 13 and 15 July.
Hawke’s Bay is the Principal Partner of the Black Sticks Men and Women.
Belgium 2 New Zealand 1 (Simon Child). HT: 2-1.
Hockey New Zealand Press Release