The New Zealand Men will play for a gold medal after stunning India 3-2 in the semi finals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
The Kiwis were in sublime form and shrugged off India’s dominance over them in recent years to book a place in their first Commonwealth Games final since Manchester 2002 where they won a silver medal.
Striker Hugo Inglis put New Zealand on the board in the seventh minute when he ran the ball into the circle and smashed home from a stinging reverse shot.
The Kiwis doubled their lead five minutes later with Stephen Jenness showing his class from close range, slipping a back-stick flick through the goalkeeper’s legs.
India pulled a goal back just seconds out from halftime when they were awarded a penalty stroke, Harmanpreet Singh calmly slotting the attempt.
Marcus Child pushed the lead out to 3-1 midway through the third quarter when he scored from a penalty corner deflection which Kane Russell pitched up in the air for him to shoot from the post.
The Indians poured on huge pressure in the final quarter and clawed within just one goal when Harmanpreet slotted a penalty corner flick in the 56th minute.
But New Zealand muscled up in defence and kept their composure to shut out India and celebrate a huge victory.
Goalkeeper Richard Joyce was heaped with praise post-match for an incredible performance which saw him called on to make multiple clutch saves.
The New Zealand Men now progress to the gold medal match where they will go up against Australia at 11:15pm (NZ time) on Saturday.
Head coach Darren Smith was thrilled with his side’s performance with a medal now guaranteed.
“For most of the game we had a two goal lead which is really pleasing. India put us under pressure, especially in the third quarter but I thought we handled it really well and then scored again,” he said.
“India came at us strongly but they were down by two and had nothing to lose. I’m really impressed with the way we absorbed everything they threw at us.
CLICK HERE for more on hockey at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games
New Zealand 3: (Hugo Inglis 17’, Stephen Jenness 13’, Marcus Child 40’)
India 2: (Harmanpreet Singh 30’, 56’)
Halftime: New Zealand 2-1