NZ Women dominate Korea in Rio Olympics opener

By Hockey NZ

The New Zealand Women have powered to a strong 4-1 win over Korea in their opening game at the Rio Olympic Games.

It was a solid first-up performance which saw the Kiwis flex their muscles on attack while goalkeeper Sally Rutherford had an outstanding match.

The Kiwis netted three goals in the first half through Kirsten Pearce, Charlotte Harrison and Gemma Flynn before Petrea Webster added her sides fourth early in the second half.

Head coach Mark Hager said it was pleasing to get a win on the board in their first game.

"Were definitely happy with the win. We were very good early on and fell away a bit in the second half but its good to come away with a result first up," Hager said.

"Korea were a team we needed to beat, they are ranked below us so we needed to take three points from them and we did well to do that today."

Defender Stacey Michelsen said her sides ability to move the ball around the field in hot conditions proved the difference.

"Our linking through the layers all across the turf was great today, we really played as a team which was fantastic.

"Its always very important to be able to keep moving the ball around in the heat, and we certainly did that well and it led to goals."

New Zealand made a strong start to the match and had Korea under plenty of pressure in their defensive half thanks to a dominant midfield.

Striker Kirsten Pearce opened the scoring in the ninth minute after a quick-fire finish in traffic from close range.

New Zealand doubled the advantage 10 minutes later when Charlotte Harrison put her body on the line with a magnificent diving reverse shot which soared past the goalkeepers pads.

It was the Kiwis again in the 20th minute as a perfect execution of a penalty corner set piece saw Anita McLaren fire wide to Gemma Flynn for a deflection into goal.

Leading 3-0 at halftime, it took just three minutes in the third quarter for another goal with Petrea Webster connecting with Kayla Whitelocks ball into the circle to send an amazing diving deflection past the keeper.

Hyunji Kim scored a consolation goal for Korea with just six minutes remaining in the match.

The New Zealand Women are back in action against Germany at 4:30am tomorrow (NZ time), with live coverage on SKY Sport Rio Pop-Up 3.

New Zealand 3: (Kirsten Pearce, Charlotte Harrison, Gemma Flynn, Petrea Webster)

Korea 1: (Hyunji Kim)

Halftime: NZ 3-0

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Hockey NZ

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