Hockey: Malaysia levels series against Black Sticks

Simon Child passes the ball for the Black Sticks against India. Photo / Getty Images
Simon Child passes the ball for the Black Sticks against India. Photo / Getty Images

Malaysia have levelled the four test series with a 3-2 win over the Black Sticks men in tonight's second test at Blake Park in Tauranga.

After coming away convincing 4-1 winners in yesterday's opener, the Black Sticks couldn't slow the resurgent visitors who were never behind on the scoreboard.

Despite the result, it was a special milestone for Capital Cobras striker Blair Hilton who earned his 150th international cap.

Head coach Colin Batch said it was a disappointing result and performance.

"It was a very disappointing game for us. We were looking to play four good matches and as we have seen in the past we've had a good result and then not performed the next game," Batch said.

"At 2-2 we had some momentum and it was disappointing we allowed them to come back into the game with too many rushed and emotional decisions in defence.

We need to improve greatly around overcoming those situations."

The opening quarter saw another slow start for the Black Sticks with Malaysia enjoying the majority of possession and earning a penalty corner in just the second minute. Captain Razie Rahim put his flick into the back of the goal to give the visitors an early advantage.

The Black Sticks built some momentum in the second quarter and the pressure told in the 21st minute when they were awarded a stroke, which Hugo Inglis calmly slotted to level the score.

With the game locked up 1-1 at halftime, it was Malaysia who were next to strike when Joel van Huizen found himself in the right spot to knock in an aerial cross in the circle.

Eight minutes from fulltime defender Cory Bennett created some magic to equalise again, pouncing on his own penalty corner deflection to put the ball into the roof of the net on his reverse stick.

But Malaysia silenced the crowd in the 55th minute when Rahim scored his second goal of the game with another penalty corner flick which sealed the result.

The Black Sticks have a rest day tomorrow ahead of the third test against Malaysia on Wednesday at 6pm

- NZ Herald

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