Hockey: Korea successful in NZ series

By David Leggat

New Zealand did create chances in the second half but couldn't finish them off. Photo / Brett Phibss
New Zealand did create chances in the second half but couldn't finish them off. Photo / Brett Phibss

A third successive win enabled Korea to wrap up their men's hockey series against New Zealand at Papatoetoe Sports Centre tonight.

The 1-0 victory, in a fast-paced, high quality contest, has eighth-ranked Korea 3-0 up after two draws had opened the six-game rubber.

World No.6 New Zealand, missing several leading players on European club duty, get a last opportunity for a victory when the teams meet for the final time at the same venue tomorrow.

The only goal came early on from Nam Yong Lee, with a shot which dribbled over the line. Both teams had a couple of penalty corners, however, strong goalkeeping kept the visitors ahead.

New Zealand did create chances in the second half but couldn't finish them off.

"It was probably the best game of the series so far, good technical skills and I'm very pleased with a lot of our progress but we need a couple of goals," New Zealand coach Colin Batch said tonight.

"There's a lot of positives that came out of the game but also a bit of frustration because we conceded a goal early, and apart from that it was a very even game."

The series is New Zealand's final preparation for for next month's World League 3 (EDS CRRCT) final qualifying tournament in Rotterdam.

The players, therefore, have a last chance to impress the national selectors tomorrow. The squad of 23 will be whittled down to 18 for Rotterdam.

Batch wants more incisiveness in the attacking circle tomorrow and he conceded the odd bit of luck wouldn't hurt either.

"I don't think we're having much luck, but if we keep the intensity then I think we'll get there."

The squad for Rotterdam is expected to be named over the weekend.

- NZ Herald

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