Black Sticks settle for draw with Malaysia

By Hockey NZ

The Black Sticks Men have drawn 1-1 with Malaysia in their opening game at the International Festival of Hockey in Melbourne.

With the return of five players following last weeks Ford Trans-Tasman Trophy, the Kiwis held plenty of possession but struggled to produce shots at goal.

Malaysia carried a one goal advantage for much of the second half after scoring in the 32nd minute before Jared Panchia grabbed the equaliser two minutes out from fulltime.

Head coach Colin Batch said it was frustrating not to come away with a result.

"We started the game very well and had lot of forward momentum in the first half. While we had some good opportunities, we didnt create any real goal shots," he said.

"Overall we created seven or eight penalty corners and that should have been enough to win the game.

"To our credit we got a late goal thanks to some good structure and passing which was pleasing but one of the things we need to get better at in those situations is being able to win the game."

The Black Sticks played an up tempo first quarter and looked threatening in the attacking circle, highlighted by several penalty corner attempts from Kane Russell which Malaysia defended well.

After a goalless first half, Malaysia snapped up the opportunity to open the scoring in the 32nd minute with Sharil Saabah delivering a stinging penalty corner drag flick.

New Zealand lifted following the goal and poured the pressure on with four penalty corners late in the third quarter, but were unable to convert.

With Malaysia headed for a win, Jared Panchia smashed home the equaliser from close range in the 58th minute after getting a perfect pass from Jacob Smith.

The Black Sticks are back in action against hosts Australia at 10:00pm tomorrow night (NZ time), with live coverage on SKY Sport.

BLACK STICKS 1: (Jared Panchia)

MALAYSIA 1: (Sharil Saabah)

Halftime: 0-0

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

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