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Black Sticks hold off Spain in opener

Black Sticks hold off Spain in opener

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<p>The Vantage Black Sticks Women have held on for a 1-0 win over Spain at the World League Semi Final</p>
<p class=""><em>Photo: FIH/Getty Images</em><br>
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The Vantage Black Sticks Women have held on for a 1-0 win over Spain in their opening match at the FIH World League Semi Final in Brussels.<br>
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It was a strong defensive effort from the Kiwis while a first half penalty corner proved the difference with Olivia Merry delivering the crucial strike.<br>
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Following on from last week’s four test series against Spain in Barcelona, the Black Sticks opened the match with high intensity against a familiar foe.<br>
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Spain held the bulk of possession in the first half but the Kiwis were organised and effective on defence to ward off the danger.<br>
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New Zealand’s goal came in the 19<sup>th</sup> minute from a penalty corner, which Merry received at the top of the circle and smashed a forehand shot low and into goal off a defender’s stick.<br>
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The second half was a much more even affair with both sides creating half chances but neither able to convert anything onto the score sheet.<br>
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Head coach Mark Hager said while there were plenty of things to work on, it was pleasing to bank three points for a win.<br>
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“We started well early on but then allowed Spain to take control and they were all over us in the second quarter,” he said.<br>
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“I was happy to see Liv convert that penalty corner – that’s something that needed improving after our Spain series and it came at the right time today.<br>
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“We’ve now got two days off before we play again which is good and bad, you like to get into a rhythm at tournaments but it also gives us more time to prepare for a tough game which will be played in hot conditions.”<br>
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The Vantage Black Sticks now go into recovery mode ahead of their next clash against trans-Tasman rivals Australia at midnight this Saturday night (NZT), with live coverage on SKY Sport.<br>
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<a href="http://www.hockeynz.co.nz/Events/Full-Events-Listing/womens-world-league-semi-final-brussels">CLICK HERE for more on the World League Semi Final in Brussels</a><br>
<strong><br>
VANTAGE BLACK STICKS 1:</strong> (Olivia Merry)<br>
<strong>SPAIN 0</strong><br>
<strong>Halftime:</strong> New Zealand 1-0<br>
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2017-06-21T20:06:00+10:0018850true

  • June 22nd, 2017 in
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