VANTAGE BLACK STICKS: 1 (Kane Russell)
INDIA: 3 (Harmanpreet Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Manpreet Singh)
Halftime: India 2-0
Tauranga (New Zealand), 20 Jan 2018: Indian Hockey team defeated the Vantage Black Sticks New Zealand Men 3-1 to set-up a final with highly-rated Belgium on Saturday, early morning IST. New Zealand thus missed out on a spot in the final at the Tauranga leg of the University of Waikato Four Nations following a 3-1 defeat to India.
Going into the last day of round robin New Zealand needed a win or draw against the world number six ranked Indians to guarantee a place in the final.
India’s victory saw them move up to top of the table before Belgium came through with an emphatic 4-1 win over Japan to also jump the Kiwis based on a superior goal difference.
The Vantage Black Sticks will now have to settle for a third place playoff against Japan at 12:00pm before India and Belgium face off in the final at 2:00pm.
Both tests will be streamed live and then available on demand through the Vantage Black Sticks Facebook page (facebook.com/nzblacksticks).
India made a fast start to their clash against the Kiwis, lighting up the score board after just two minutes thanks to a Harmanpreet Singh penalty corner strike.
The visitors doubled their advantage in the 21st minute when Dilpreet Singh slipped through the defence for a field goal.
The Black Sticks lifted after the halftime break but still battled to break down the dogged Indian defensive unit.
Kane Russell kept New Zealand in the game late in the third quarter when he hammered a straight hit past the goalkeeper from a penalty corner.
Indian captain Manpreet Singh gave his side a buffer once more following a 47th field goal with New Zealand unable to mount a late comeback.
Experienced midfielder Arun Panchia said it was a tough game against extremely talented opponents.
“We knew it was always going to be a very tough game and India put together a good performance against us. They played well and deserved their win,” he said.
“It’s a really tight series here and anyone can beat anyone on their day. We are happy with parts of our game today but know we need to be better tomorrow.”
Following games in Tauranga, the University of Waikato Four Nations heads to Gallagher Hockey Centre in Hamilton from 24-28 January.
eom/courtesy Hockey New Zealand/ http://hockeynz.co.nz