The Black Sticks Men are disappointed to have lost 3-2 to Malaysia last night in the second of two tests being played ahead of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup starting this Saturday. After trailing 3-nil at half time, the Black Sticks fought back in the second half, with goals from Andy Hayward and new player Cory Bennett, but it was not enough to give them the win they were after.
“It was disappointing that we did not show the same intensity that got us through the previous night [a 3-2 New Zealand win]. In saying that, the second half was more encouraging and 3-nil is not insurmountable for this team. We will learn valuable lessons from this game, ahead of the Sultan Azlan Shah,” says head coach Colin Batch.
There were a few promising moments for the Kiwis in the first half, but a number of errors gifted the home side opportunities to score in the 10th and 20th minute. A field goal just prior to half time confirmed that it was going to be an uphill battle for the Black Sticks in the second spell.
The Black Sticks stepped up their intensity in the second half, resulting in another Andy Hayward trade mark flick which went high into the net in the 47th minute. Cory Bennett, playing in his second international test, scored the second goal for New Zealand from a well worked penalty corner variation. With ten minutes left on the clock, the Black Sticks worked hard but were unable to find the equaliser.
There were strong performances from Shay Neal, Nick Ross, Jacob Smith and Devon Manchester.
The Black Sticks play their first game of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia, at 9.05pm (NZ Time) on Saturday against Pakistan. They will also face Malaysia, Korea, India and Australia.
Malaysia 3 (Jalifaiz Helmi , Abdul Jalil Tengku Ahmad Tajudin, Mohd Noor Nabil Fiqri) beat New Zealand 2 (Andy Hayward, Cory Bennett). HT: 3-0 Malaysia
Hockey New Zealand