Coming in with a loss each, both India and New Zealand were looking to grab their first points at the Hero Hockey World League Final in New Delhi. It was a much improved performance from Black Sticks, who dominated India 3-1 to secure 3 points from the match.
Leading 1-0 at halftime, the Black Sticks held their composure in the second half and didn’t allow India to build any momentum thanks to some strong defending.
Shea McAleese scored the tournament’s fastest goal so far inside the first minute, with Stephen Jenness scoring a second half double to seal the win.
It took the Black Sticks less than a minute to light up the scoreboard, with McAleese on an open run into the circle before taking a cracking shot into the top left corner of the goal.
The first half settled into a relatively even affair, with both sides creating chances but unable to execute the final blow.
Jenness increased New Zealand’s lead in the 40th minute with a dinky touch between the goalkeeper’s legs, and added his second goal 10 minutes later with a stinging reverse shot from the top of the circle.
India scored a consolation goal just two minutes from fulltime through Mandeep.
Man of the Match Jenness said it was good to come out and play well following yesterday’s tough loss to Germany.
“Last night was tough, we had to come out and get the points today and we did that. We didn’t have much ball against Germany so that was a focus for us and we did well in that area today,” he said.
“We held onto the ball well and took our chances when we could. It was a great team effort and the result comes down to the work the boys put into supporting each other.”
Disappointed at the loss, Terry Walsh, coach of the Indian team said, “We give credit to our opposite teams who are not letting India make headway in winning the matches. The team is low on confidence but it has to be rebuilt. New Zealand played a different game in each time period and our team was not prepared for this change. It will take time for them to learn and perform with new strategies in place.”