Photo: FIH/Getty Images
A last minute goal has seen Australia snatch a 2-1 win over the Vantage Black Sticks Men at the Hockey World League Semi Final in Johannesburg.
The Kiwis were first to score but couldn’t stop the Kookaburras who powered home with two goals in the final 10 minutes to snare three points.
The result sees New Zealand currently sitting at fourth in Pool A ahead of their final pool match against Spain on Monday night, with live coverage on SKY Sport from 11:55pm (NZT).
The outcome against Spain will determine who the Black Sticks meet in the cross-over quarter finals phase at the tournament.
Head coach Darren Smith said it was a disappointing final result in a game they had set up well.
“We were expecting a tough, hard-nosed game coming in and I thought we played well for the first three quarters but then allowed Australia to take control,” he said.
“We put together some good hockey but in the fourth quarter we sat back too deep and were a bit tentative which Australia capitalised on.
“The next game against Spain is very important as we need to display a good performance to try and finish as high as we can in the pool.”
It was an evenly poised first half which saw few scoring opportunities for either side and a 0-0 score line at halftime.
New Zealand broke the deadlock in the 39th minute when Hayden Phillips sent a crashing ball across the face of goal for a diving tap in from Jared Panchia on the far post.
Australia equalised midway through the fourth quarter from a penalty corner with Jeremy Edwards picking up the initial save and sending a reverse shot over the shoulder of Devon Manchester.
The Kookaburras then delivered the winning strike with just 40 seconds remaining on the clock when Jeremy Hayward ripped a penalty corner flick into the back of the net.
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VANTAGE BLACK STICKS 1: (Jared Panchia)
AUSTRALIA 2: (Jeremy Edwards, Jeremy Hayward)