The New Zealand Under 21 Men have been defeated 5-2 by Pakistan in their opening game at the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia.

Pakistan opened a two goal lead through a Muhammad Bilal Qadir field goal in the 22nd minute and Ali Mubasshir's penalty corner just out from halftime.

New Zealand changed their rhythm early in the second half and pulled one back through Sam Lane's field goal in the 46th minute.

Hopes of a comeback only lasted a couple of minutes as Rana Riaz scored from open play to restore Pakistans two goal buffer.

The introduction of Mac Wilcox gave Pakistan problems, especially when he converted a penalty corner in the 59th minute and almost assisted an equaliser the very next minute.

Rana again gave Pakistan a two goal cushion, this time through a penalty corner in the 65th minute before skipper Muhammad Dilber made it 5-2 seconds before the final hooter.

New Zealand captain Brad Read said Pakistan played well while his side missed some quality chances.

"Although we lost the game, we kept our attacking momentum throughout. We were a bit unlucky to miss some of the chances created which could have changed the result," he said.

New Zealand play Japan next at the tournament at 9:00pm tonight (NZ time).

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