Hockey: Black Sticks remain unbeaten at Azlan Shah Cup

The Black Sticks beat Japan 4-1 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.
The Black Sticks beat Japan 4-1 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.

The Black Sticks Men have recorded successive wins following a 4-1 result against Japan at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.

The victory sees the Black Sticks remain undefeated, banking three valuable points to move top of the standings with games still to play later in the day.

Nick Wilson, Simon Child, Nic Woods and Hugo Inglis scored goals for New Zealand in an energy sapping game played in 37 degree heat.

Head coach Colin Batch said it was a good performance given the temperature, which forced extended quarter and halftime breaks.

"I thought we dealt with the heat pretty well, we started very well and scored a couple of early goals which gave us a good edge," he said.

"We were one man down in defence with Blair Tarrant injured but I thought we coped well, and both Devon [Manchester] and Kyle [Pontifex] played well in goal.

"The rest day will be important for us and we're looking forward to the next challenge against Australia who we know are always tough to beat."

It was a fast start from the Black Sticks who lit up the scoreboard in the fourth minute when Wilson put a nice finishing touch on a cross from Child.

The Black Sticks doubled their lead in the 13th minute from a super piece of work from Child who followed up on his own deflected shot to slot past the goalkeeper.

Japan responded five minutes into the second quarter with a fast break allowing Kazuma Murata to score a well worked field goal.

New Zealand capitalised on a 27th minute penalty corner with Woods firing into the back of the goal to give his side a 3-1 halftime advantage.

With the second half looking to end goalless, Wilson came up with some more magic in the 58th minute dribbling a bouncing ball through traffic and hitting towards goal for Inglis to get the final touch.

The Black Sticks have a rest day tomorrow before going up against trans-Tasman rivals Australia on Tuesday at 8pm (NZ time).

- NZ Herald

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