Black Sticks clinch spot in Melbourne final
Black-Sticks-clinch-spot-in-Melbourne-finalThe Black Sticks Men have secured a stunning 3-2 come from behind victory over India in Melbourne
Photo: Grant Treeby
The Black Sticks Men have secured a stunning 3-2 come from behind victory over India to progress to the final at the International Festival of Hockey in Melbourne.
It was a staggering resurgence from the Kiwis who trailed by one goal at halftime but poured on three goals in the fourth quarter through Nick Ross, Jacob Smith and Hugo Inglis.
The Black Sticks now go on to face hosts Australia in the final at 8:30pm tomorrow (NZ time), with live coverage on SKY Sport.
Head coach Colin Batch said his men showed determination and maturity to overcome the deficit and hold on under pressure.
“The last quarter was really crazy with four goals scored. We scored three of them and really took the game to India so I’m pleased with the turnaround in that situation,” he said.
“We lifted for the last quarter and it was a great effort from the guys, we put India under pressure, they made mistakes and we were good enough to finish.
“It’s great we’re playing in a final and going up against Australia at home will be a great challenge but we are certainly up for it.”
The opening quarter was evenly poised with both sides full of running and creating chances inside the attacking circle.
India struck in the 18th minute when a turnover from the Kiwis deep in defence allowed a clear shot at goal which hit last man Kane Russell’s foot, leading to a stroke which was converted by Rupinder Pal Singh.
The Black Sticks finally hit their strides in the fourth quarter with Nick Ross lighting up the scoreboard in the 47th minute after deflecting into goal from a quick-fire Hugo Inglis pass.
New Zealand grabbed the lead just one minute later with Stephen Jenness controlling a loose ball in the circle and flicking towards goal for a final touch from Jacob Smith.
Inglis gave the Kiwis a two goal buffer three minutes from fulltime when he put a brilliant diving deflection into goal from a penalty corner set piece.
India responded immediately after the restart from a penalty corner of their own, Rupinder scoring his second goal of the match.
Despite huge pressure from India the Black Sticks held firm as time drew to a close, with goalkeeper Richard Joyce making a crucial penalty corner save to end the game.
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BLACK STICKS 3: (Nick Ross, Jacob Smith, Hugo Inglis)
INDIA 2: (Rupinder Pal Singh 2)
Halftime: India 1-0
- November 26th, 2016 in