New Zealand defeated Malaysia 3-2 in the first of their two Test Matches at the MPMBB Hockey Stadium in Malacca this evening.
New Zealand were without Phil Burrows, Shea McAleese, Nick Haig, Richard Petherick Brad Shaw, Simon Child, Nick Wilson and Steven Edwards , some of whom whom were left out to give the youngsters a chance while others were committed to clubs in the European League.
Debutants Cory Bennett, Nick Ross and Isaac Staples gave a good account of themselves as did Baljit Singh whose place in the Azlan Shah Cup will only be decided after the match on Tuesday.
But Ismail Abu, who was in contention for the final 18 is definitely out as he has failed to recover sufficiently from his injury.
Malaysia were trying out players in different positions but still should have done better in the semi circle as they only had one penalty corner in the entire 70 minutes while the forwards were one step slower whenever an opportunity presented itself.
It was a hesitant start by both teams who opted to play the waiting game for the other to make unforced errors.
New Zealand then started the offensive but not before Chua Boon Huat squandered a sitter as a cross from the right by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin eluded the entire back line and left Chua infront the goal, but he muffed it.
New Zealand were awarded a penalty corner in the 21st minute and Andy Hayward sent in a flick into the roof of the Malaysian goal giving Roslan Jamaludin no chance whatsoever.
That woke the Malaysian team from their slumber and they launched an onslaught that yielded an equaliser through Faisal Saari after a goal mouth melee in the 24th minute.
But another Andy strike from a penalty corner in the 33rd minute gave the Kiwis a halftime lead.
Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin deflected in a cross by Marhan Jalil to make it 2-2 in the 47th minute. Although
The bar stood in the way of Andy in the 51st minute as his attempt bounced off with Roslan beaten all the way.
Malaysia were awarded a penalty corner late in the game but Mohd Razie Rahim could not get his shot off the ground.
Though Malaysia finished strongly, they just could not put the ball into goal and the draw was a fair result of proceedings.
But New Zealand scored in the 68th minute Shay Neal in the 65th minute to snatch boasting rights ahead of the Azlan Shah Cup.