Photo: Grant Treeby
A late penalty corner strike has lifted the Vantage Black Sticks Men to a 3-2 win against Pakistan in Melbourne.
New Zealand’s win, along with Australia’s 6-1 result over Japan, has secured the Kiwis a spot in the International Festival of Hockey gold medal match against the Kookaburras at 8:30pm tomorrow (NZ time).
Pakistan opened the scoring in the sixth minute before Hayden Phillips netted from the field in the second half to set up a 1-1 scoreline at the halftime break.
A penalty stroke midway through the third quarter allowed Pakistan to take the lead but George Muir equalised for the Kiwis just two minutes later.
With just three minutes on the clock and the goalkeeper substituted, the Black Sticks earned a penalty corner with Marcus Child pouncing on the deflection to give his side an impressive victory.
Assistant coach Bryce Collins said it was pleasing to come away with a win after what was a tough and physical match.
“We put together some good patches of hockey although it was tough going against a solid Pakistan side,” he said.
“Pakistan were better than they have been earlier in the tournament but we managed to press them well and get some good counter attacking from that.
“We look forward to finishing with a good performance tomorrow to finish the year off positively.”
Sunday’s bronze and gold medal matches at the International Festival of Hockey will be broadcast live on SKY Sport.
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VANTAGE BLACK STICKS: 3 (Hayden Phillips, George Muir, Marcus Child)
PAKISTAN: 2 (Muhammad Umar Bhutta, Ammad Shakeel Butt)