The New Zealand U21 side have beaten Australia 3-1 in the Sultan of Johor Cup in their final pool match. New Zealand were composed on attack and made sure to make the most of the scoring opportunities. The win wasn’t enough to move the kiwis above Japan and into the bronze medal match. The two sides will meet tomorrow for the 5th and 6th placing match.
New Zealand played a great game against Japan in their previous match but ultimately fell to a well-drilled Japanese penalty corner. Lining up for their final match of the pool stage, New Zealand took on Australia knowing that a four-goal win would be enough to move them into the bronze medal match at the Sultan of Johor.
New Zealand were looking composed to start the match and went close on a great baseline drive by Charl Ulrich, thankfully for Australia, the ball across bounced over the New Zealand stick stopping the attack. Australia responded by applying a lot of pressure on the kiwi defence, they threw wave after wave of attack at the New Zealand side, New Zealand’s defence was solid and cut out every attack thrown at them. After one quarter the two sides remained tied at 0-0
The second quarter started at a slower pace as the Australian side went into a half-court and allowed the New Zealand side to play the ball back and around. New Zealand’s patience was rewarded when some great play by the New Zealand side resulted in a great cross ball across the circle that Maks Wyndham-Smith slammed into the goal. Australia then went close on several occasions; New Zealand goalkeeper Louis Beckert was in outstanding form and denied the Australians on several occasions. New Zealand would head into the half time sheds with a narrow 1-0 lead.
New Zealand scored their second goal only moments into the third quarter when a duffed overhead found its way onto the end of Tim Neild’s stick, Neild then ran into the circle for an uncontested forehand shot. New Zealand had their third goal with a ripper of a flick for Charl Ulrich who put it into the Australian net.
New Zealand went into the final quarter knowing that a further two goals in the match would see them through to the bronze medal match against Malaysia. Zander Fraser had the first good scoring chance for New Zealand in the fourth quarter, Fraser’s shot went just wide of the goal. Desperate to find the two needed goals the kiwis pulled their goalkeeper and created several opportunities, however it was a little too late as they couldn’t break through the Australian defensive line. Australia scored one at the final hooter as they drag flicked the ball into the open goal.
New Zealand 3 (Maks Wyndham-Smith 23 min, Tim Neild 31 min, Charl Ulrich 33 min)
Australia 1 (Patrick Coates 60 min)