Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hockey: Malaysia turn around first test defeat

Malaysia bounced back from their first-up 3-0 loss to draw the second hockey test with New Zealand 1-1 in Palmerston North last night.

Malaysia stung the Black Sticks when, from a fifth minute goalmouth scramble, the youngest player in the visiting team Faizal Saari, 18, scored.

The home side had chances to equalise but missed the firepower up front as captain Phil Burrows sat the game out as part of coach Shane McLeod's rest and rotation policy.

The closest New Zealand came to drawing level in the first spell came from a penalty corner attempt but the speedy Malays were out quickly to defend well.

Continuing to lift their game from what they had shown in the first test on Sunday, the visitors continued to make life difficult for the hosts.

The Black Sticks' best chance of the match came to nothing when Simon Child, in his 100th international, had his shot blocked. The equaliser came 14 minutes from time from another penalty corner variation involving Richard Petherick. The ball was not cleared and Ryan Archibald pounced to score.

"That gave them a big lift and they definitely played better than on Sunday.

"It was not a bad performance by us considering the changes we had as we try to give all players game time."

The third test is in Napier tomorrow night.