12 Apr 2015

Black Sticks men into final

9:29 am on 12 April 2015

The New Zealand men's hockey team will meet Australia in tonight's Sultan Azlan Shah Cup final after recording a 3-3 draw with South Korea in their final round robin match.

The New Zealand men's hockey captain Simon Child.

The New Zealand men's hockey captain Simon Child. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Going into the match the Black Sticks need either a win or draw to ensure a berth in the final with a second place finish at the conclusion of round robin play.

The Black Sticks, who won the title in 2012, now have the chance to bring home gold in what will be the first ever all-Oceania final in the tournament's history at 12:30am Monday morning (NZ time).

Head coach Colin Batch said it was pleasing to come through with the result under pressure from Korea.

"They were a really good challenge for us, we know they're a good side from previous experience and they showed that again today," he said.

"We're now looking forward to playing Australia again, experience in big finals like this is exactly what we want in terms of our ongoing development and in the build-up to World League Round 3."

Goalkeeper Devon Manchester said he's looking forward to a rematch against the Kookaburras, who beat New Zealand 3-1 earlier at the tournament.

"We've got genuine belief and a good feeling within this group right now that we can win the final," he said.

"Australia will come out firing, but so will we. We've made a lot of improvements since we played them last and we just need to play our game and not have any bad patches."

The Black Sticks were first to score in just the fourth minute when Simon Child's pin-point pass across the circle found a sliding Ryan Archibald who knocked the ball home.

Korea responded late in the quarter with some good pressure leading to a penalty corner where Nam Hyun-Woo flicked past Manchester in goal.

New Zealand earned a stroke midway through the second period when Blair Hilton's shot hit a defender's foot with an open goal behind him, but Nick Haig's attempt went wide of the post.

Korea took the lead in the opening minutes of the second half, with Hyun-Woo scoring his second goal with another penalty corner flick.

New Zealand equalised yet again with a penalty corner in the 41st minute when Haig put the ball straight down the middle and through the legs of the keeper.

The Black Sticks then took a 3-2 lead with a mistake in the circle from Korea falling for Child who hammered a reverse shot into the side of the goal.

But once again the Koreans replied straight away with their sixth penalty corner of the game, Lee Nam Yong deflecting in from on the post.

As time wound down the Black Sticks lifted on defence and repelled some desperate attempts from Korea in the final 10 minutes.

The result means New Zealand advance to tonight's final while Korea will play off against India for the bronze medal.

Also last night the Black Sticks Women scrambled to secure a 2-2 draw against Japan in their opening game of the international tournament the Hawke's Bay Cup in Hastings.

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