New Zealand have bounced back emphatically at the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia with a comprehensive 6-0 win over the host nation. New Zealand looked clinical from the outset and were buoyed by a hattrick to defender Benji Edwards who produced some outstanding drag flicks.
The New Zealand U21 side were looking to put a horror second match behind them as they lined up to take on the home side Malaysia in their third match of the Sultan of Johor Cup for 2019.
New Zealand started the game looking more composed than previously in the tournament, they were forcing Malaysia into turnovers in their defensive zone and were then attacking with speed. Despite several circle entries the kiwis were struggling to get off a clear shot against a strong Malaysian defence. Late in the first quarter, Xavier Guy eliminated several Malaysian defenders, however, his reverse stick shot went over the crossbar. After one quarter the two sides remained tied.
For the first time in the 2019 tournament the New Zealand U21 side put themselves in front in the match, Charl Ulrich made a great tackle in the middle of the field and put a spectacular long ball through into the attacking circle, Moss Jackson then calmly finished the play by flicking the ball into the goal from a tight angle. The lead was then doubled midway through the second quarter when Xavier Guy and Zander Fraser combined nicely to work their way down the right-hand channel. Fraser then put a great cross ball into the circle that Maks Wyndham-Smith deflected into the goal. Just before the halftime break the New Zealand team further extended their lead with a high wide drag-flick that the Malaysian goalkeeper couldn’t keep out of the goal.
Benji Edwards scored his second goal of the match when his drag-flick early in the third quarter put New Zealand into a commanding position in the match. Malaysia then regrouped and started to look to construct some attacking plays, New Zealand was continuing to snuff out the attacks and were then counter-attacking with speed against the Malaysian defence. Just before the end of the third quarter Sean Findlay received a great ball on the baseline, he then used some slick 3D skills to eliminate several Malaysian defenders and pop the shot over the goalkeeper for Dylan Thomas to put a deft touch into the goal.
New Zealand started the final quarter in a dominant position as they entered the quarter up 5-0 against what looked like a shell-shocked Malaysian side. Benji Edwards completed his hattrick early in the fourth quarter when he went low on a drag-flick that was too fast for the Malaysian side to control.
New Zealand 6 (Moss Jackson 19 min, Maks Wyndham-Smith 23 min, Benji Edwards 26, 33, 47 min, Dylan Thomas 45 min)