The hosts Malaysia defeated the Black Sticks 3-2 in thrilling shoot-out after the Kiwis made strong come back to make it 4-4 at full-time from 1-4 at half time, while Ireland overcame France 3-0 in another shoot-out at the Pahang Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan, Malaysia.
In the other quarter-finals Canada and Korea defeated Poland and Japan respectively with the scores of 3-2 and 5-1 to complete the semi-final line-up. The hosts are up against Canada and Ireland will take on Korea in semi-finals to be played on 3rd May (Saturday), as New Zealand and France take on Poland and Japan respectively for 5th place to 8th place classifications.
Malaysia lead 4-1 at halftime before three penalty corner flicks from Andy Hayward brought the Black Sticks back into the game to take it shoot-out as he scored the third goal in the final minute of regulation time.
With the result in the hands of a penalty shoot-out, the Black Sticks had the upper hand early after converting their first two attempts while Malaysia missed their first two.
But S Kumar, who is one of the best goalkeepers, saved three shots in a row from the Kiwis, while Malaysian forwards utilized their 3 chances progress into the semi finals as young gun Fitri Saari kept his nerve cool and converted last shot to win it for his team in front of home crowd.
The Black Sticks Head coach Colin Batch said the loss was hard to take after going into the quarter finals on the back of three straight wins. “We will regroup and do well in the next few games but right now there’s a lot of disappointment in the group as you can expect. There were positives to come from the game and it was pleasing that we were able to dominate parts of the second half but to allow them to score four unanswered goals was a disaster. We went with the same penalty shoot-out group that did well for us at the World League Final and we feel like we’ve got that right. It was disappointing to let it slip after going up 2-0 but we will take that and learn from it,” he said