Australia have used a big first half to stun the New Zealand U21 side in their final match at the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia. The 4-2 loss means that New Zealand finish the tournament in 6th place. Despite the result, there was a lot of great takeaways from the tournament which saw the kiwis come away with wins over Australia and a comprehensive 6-0 win over the bronze medal-winning Malaysian team.
Australia started the match and went immediately into the ascendancy. In the first minute of the match Australia earned themselves a penalty corner, New Zealand goalkeeper Louis Beckett pulled off a great glove save to deny the Australians. Both sides then managed to create several opportunities in what was a great back and forth open first quarter. Just before the end of the first quarter, Australia found an open Daniel McBride at the top of the circle who powered a shot past the New Zealand goalkeeper and put Australia in a strong position in the match. Moments later Australia had their second goal of the match when New Zealand turned over the ball in their circle and Lachlan Busiko managed to put the ball into the back of the goal.
New Zealand came out in the second quarter of the match and were looking to hold possession and construct some good opportunities against what was looking like a confident Australian side. The Australian side who have struggled with their penalty corner attack managed to convert one just before the half time break when a Lachlan Busiko flick took a deflection on the way through to the goal.
New Zealand went into the second half trailing 3-0 and needing a big second-half effort to secure fifth place in the tournament. The kiwis were playing more confidently at the start of the second half as they searched for their first goal to get them back into the contest. The New Zealand side was eventually rewarded in the sixth minute of the third quarter when Carl Ulrich flicked in a rocket of a flick that sailed into the Australian goal. The lead was restored for the Australian side when a mistimed drag out from a penalty corner was swept into the goal from Daniel McBride.
New Zealand entered the fourth and final quarter with a three-goal deficit and staring down the barrel of defeat to a well-disciplined Australian side that was forcing the New Zealand team into turnovers deep in their half. The kiwis continued to fight in the match but couldn’t find the goals to get them back into the contest. Dylan Thomas clawed one back late in the match off a great Sean Findlay run, the ball popped up on the back post and Thomas slammed it into the goal.
New Zealand 2 (Charl Ulrich 36 min, Dylan Thomas 56 min)
Australia 4 (Daniel McBride 13, 38 min, Lachlan Busiko 15, 27 min)
2019 Sultan of Johor – New Zealand Results
New Zealand v Great Britain. Loss 0-2
New Zealand v India. Loss 2-8
New Zealand v Malaysia. Won 6-0
New Zealand v Japan. Loss 2-4
New Zealand v Australia. Won 3-1
New Zealand v Australia. Loss 2-4
Final Placing: 6th