Black Sticks in hard fought draw with Malaysia
Black-Sticks-in-hard-fought-draw-with-MalaysiaThe Black Sticks Men have battled to a 3-3 draw with hosts Malaysia in their Sultan Azlan Shah Cup opener
Photo: Megat Firdaus, PMF Sport Photography
The Black Sticks Men have battled to a 3-3 draw with hosts Malaysia in their opening game at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
It was a fast tempo game which saw the lead exchanged several times in front of a vocal home crowd in Ipoh.
Striker Nick Wilson starred with a double in his 150th international appearance while Simon Child added to the goal tally.
Black Sticks head coach Colin Batch said it was disappointing not to take away the win but there were positives to come out of the match.
“It’s disappointing that we didn’t get the win to take all three points, but overall it was a pretty good performance from us,” he said.
“We operated really well in the midfield throughout the game and created a number of opportunities in the attacking circle.
“The guys showed maturity to come back from behind twice, and we took control late in the fourth quarter but weren’t able to score a winning goal.”
The hosts were first to strike late in the first quarter from a swift counter attack which saw Firhan Ashari flick into goal over grounded goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex.
New Zealand responded in electric fashion in the 22nd minute when Wilson went on a solo run into the circle, beating three defenders before hitting past the keeper from a tight angle.
With the score level 1-1 at halftime, it was Wilson who broke the shackles early in the second half after controlling a bouncing ball on the run and slipping the ball inside the left post for his second of the match.
Malaysia captain Razie Rahim equalised from a penalty corner in the 44th minute with a precision drag flick into the top corner of the net.
The hosts then regained the lead five minutes later with Shahril Saabah firing a penalty corner flick past the legs of Devon Manchester.
The Black Sticks were able to draw level once more midway through the fourth quarter after six penalty corner attempts in a row finally paid dividends with Simon Child getting a perfect deflection on Kane Russell’s flick.
The Black Sticks have a short turnaround ahead of their next game at the tournament against Canada at 10pm tonight (NZ time), with live coverage on SKY Sport 3.
BLACK STICKS 3: (Nick Wilson 2, Simon Child)
MALAYSIA 3: (Firhan Ashari, Razie Rahim, Shahril Saabah)
- April 6th, 2016 in