The Black Sticks Women will face Australia in the final of the second series of the Four Nations tournament despite drawing with India 3-3 tonight at the Lloyd Elsmore Hockey Stadium in Pakuranga, Auckland.
The Kiwis had their finals spot secured before the match started but would have wanted a win tonight in the build-up for tomorrow’s trans-Tasman clash, a repeat of the final of the first series which the home side clinched 3-2.
Black Sticks coach Mark Hager said after getting two goals up his team went away from what they were doing well.
“We go away from the game plan and structure and we’re not disciplined enough in defence. It’s because of our poor marking at the back and we also don’t treasure the ball when we go forward.”
“We know we can fight back. That’s a great attribute of this group but I’m over fighting back. We need to be able to stay in front and learn to win from those positions.”
The Black Sticks blew away the cobwebs from their lacklustre efforts in the past two games and were 2-0 up after 10 minutes thanks to goals to Katie Glynn and Cathryn Finlayson.
The Indians responded soon after with a goal to Rani and continued to put the Black Sticks under pressure with their counter-attacking style.
The home side also had chances to extend their lead, including an opportunity for a wide open Krystal Forgesson that she should have put away, but often the last pass was off target.
In the second spell, the Kiwis had numerous goal-scoring chances including a handful of penalty corners and an open goal for Finlayson but it was the visitors who were doing the scoring.
Vandana Katariya deflected in a shot after 19 minutes and just minutes later they took the lead as Chanchan Thokchom popped in a rebound.
It looked like they would hold the lead until Forgesson snatched one back with three minutes left to give the Black Sticks the draw and maintain their unbeaten record in the second series.
Australia confirmed their spot in tomorrow’s final with a blistering 5-1 victory over the USA.
Hager said the Black Sticks would need a much-improved effort to match Australia tomorrow.
“If we play like we did tonight and turn over so much ball they’re going to hurt us. They have that ability where they can punish you if you’re off your game.”
Tomorrow’s final is at 7.30pm at Lloyd Elsmore, with the play-off for third and fourth between USA and India starting at 5pm.
Hawke’s Bay is the Principal Partner of the Black Sticks Men and Women.
New Zealand v India
Full time: 3-3 Half time: 2-1 (New Zealand lead)
New Zealand goalscorers: Katie Glynn, Cathryn Finlayson, Krystal Forgesson
India goalscorers: Rani, Vandana Katariya, Chanchan Thokchom
Australia v USA
Full time: 5-1 (Australia win) Half time: 2-1
Australia goalscorers: Jodie Schulz, Georgia Nanscawen, Jade Close 2, Teneal Attard.
USA goalscorer: Claire Laubach