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Black Sticks finish fourth at Azlan Shah

Black Sticks finish fourth at Azlan Shah

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<p>The Vantage Black Sticks Men have finished fourth at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia</p>
<p class=""><em>Photo: Megat Firdaus</em><br>
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The Vantage Black Sticks Men have finished fourth at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup after being defeated 4-0 by India in the bronze medal match.<br>
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With a point to prove after missing out on the final, the Indians played an outstanding game of hockey and troubled the Kiwis on both sides of the ball.<br>
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The Black Sticks struggled to create chances in the attacking circle but did show flashes of class, although none were converted into goals.<br>
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The result sees New Zealand conclude the tournament with two wins, one draw and three losses.<br>
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Head coach Darren Smith said while the end result wasn’t what they were after, it had been a great few weeks of hockey for a young and evolving group.<br>
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“We couldn’t hold possession of the ball tonight and this made India even more of a threat. For us to be effective against any team denying time, space and applying pressure is critical,” he said.<br>
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“We also need to ensure that our basic skills are sharp and we take sound options. Overall it’s been a good two weeks, we’ve played nine games in 14 days with a team that has relished the opportunity to compete.<br>
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“Along the way there have been moments of quality and opportunities displayed of where we can improve. Now it’s time to narrow our focus onto the World League Semi Final.”<br>
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India controlled much of the play in the first half and poured the pressure on New Zealand through some dangerous phases of attacking play.<br>
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Rupinder Pal Singh made the Black Sticks pay in the 17<sup>th</sup> minute when put a powerful penalty corner drag flick into the goal.<br>
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It was almost an instant replay 10 minutes later with Rupinder scoring in the same spot from another drag flick to send India into halftime with a 2-0 advantage.<br>
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Strong defence had the Kiwis frustrated in the second half while India opened a 3-0 buffer early in the fourth quarter through a Sunil Sowmarpet field goal.<br>
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Talwinder Singh rubbed salt into the wounds with his side’s fourth goal of the match in the dying seconds before the fulltime hooter.<br>
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Earlier in the day hosts Malaysia secured fifth place following a 3-1 win over Japan, while Great Britain beat out Australia 4-3 to win the gold medal match.<br>
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<a href="http://hockeynz.co.nz/Events/Full-Events-Listing/2017-sultan-azlan-shah-cup">CLICK HERE for more on the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup</a><br>
<strong><br>
VANTAGE BLACK STICKS 0</strong><br>
<strong>INDIA 4: </strong>(Rupinder Pal Singh 2, Sunil Sowmarpet, Talwinder Singh)<br>
<strong>Halftime:</strong> India 2-0<br>
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2017-05-06T14:21:00+10:0014300true

  • May 7th, 2017 in
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