New Zealand Men settle for draw with Great Britain

By Hockey NZ

The New Zealand Men have come away with a 2-2 draw against Great Britain in a high tempo game of hockey at the Rio Olympic Games.

It was an energy sapping encounter in which both sides exchanged goals in the first half with Kane Russell and Hayden Phillips finding the back of the net in stunning style.

Despite a frenetic second half, neither side was able to deliver a winning goal and split one point each in Pool A of the competition.

Head coach Colin Batch said while they were after a win, it was pleasing to take away a point from the match.

"After our last game we needed to step up in the way we defended the circle and connected in the midfield and up front, I think we achieved that," Batch said.

"We didnt get the result we were after but certainly a big step up in our performance. The key now is to recover and have some fun as well, not get too intense and make sure we put in another good performance against Spain."

New Zealand captain Simon Child said it was frustrating not to be able to take the win but they are confident they can improve ahead of their next game.

"We did well to come back from an early deficit and played really well in patches, but disappointing to allow them to equalise," he said.

"Our second half we put in a solid effort - were a very fit team and definitely seem to play our best hockey in the second half.

"We created some good chances but got isolated up front at times so we need to work a bit more collectively in our upcoming games."

Great Britain stunned the Kiwis inside the opening two minutes when David Condon found himself open in the circle to score past goalkeeper Devon Manchester.

New Zealand regrouped following the goal and managed to string together some good phases of play from a fast paced midfield.

Defender Kane Russell lit up the scoreboard for the Kiwis in the 14th minute after rushing up in attack to take an overhead on the run before unleashing a monster forehand shot from a tight angle.

Four minutes later New Zealand pushed out to a 2-1 lead when Shay Neal slipped a pass to 18-year-old Hayden Phillips for a strong reverse shot which sailed past GB goalkeeper George Pinner.

Five minutes out from halftime Barry Middleton snuck in behind the defence to deflect home a field goal off the far post to send the game into the break locked up at 2-2.

Both sides showcased some impressive attacking hockey in the second half but couldnt crack the defence, with both goalkeepers Manchester and Pinner playing outstanding roles.

The New Zealand Men have the day off tomorrow before getting back onto the turf at 1:00am Wednesday morning (NZ time) when they do battle against Spain, with live coverage on SKY Sport 4.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Women are looking to secure their second successive win at the Games when they take on Germany at 4:30am tomorrow, live on SKY Sport Rio Pop-Up 3.

New Zealand 2: (Kane Russell, Hayden Phillips)

Great Britain 2: (David Condon, Barry Middleton)

Halftime: 2-2

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

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