The Vantage Black Sticks and Malaysian Men met in game 3 of their test series. This was the last hit out for both these sides before they begin their journey for the Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup.
The Vantage Black Sticks were riding high having taken the first two matches of the series and are starting to string together some nice combinations in time for the Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup.
Malaysia started the game strongly and were rewarded with a penalty corner after a ball into the circle was raised off one of the Vantage Black Sticks players stick. Malaysia took the opportunity that saw Razie Rahim drag flick a goal low left past the Vantage Black Sticks goalkeeper.The Vantage Black Sticks struck back through a Kane Russell drag flick after an Arun Panchia reverse stick cross caught a Malaysian players foot.
Both teams had a number of further opportunities but couldn’t break the deadlock.
Malaysia came out strong in the second quarter and created several opportunities, including a drag flick that pinged off the post.Eventually they were rewarded with a quick counter attack that was finished with a diving deflection by Tengku Tajuddin past Vantage Black Sticks goalkeeper George Enersen. Malaysia went into the sheds at half time with a 2-1 lead.
The 3rd quarter saw both sides construct several opportunities. The Vantage Black Sticks switched goal keepers at half time and Richard Joyce was called upon to make some great saves. In the dying seconds of the 3rd quarter Marcus Child sent a ball across the circle and a diving George Muir looked for a deflection, but the Malaysian goalkeeper was up to the challenge. We ended the 3rd quarter with no change to the score line.
The Vantage Black Sticks started the 4th quarter with an increased focus and energy and were rewarded almost instantly when Aidan Sarikaya sent a ball into an unmarked George Muir who did a reverse flick past the Malaysian goalkeeper to make the score 2-2 and set up an exciting final quarter.
The Vantage Black Sticks looking to try something pulled their goalkeeper and Malaysia quickly countered and put a field goal in through Faizal Saari to get the lead back.
Malaysia then extended their lead on another counter attacking goal when Aiman Rozemi powered a goal into the back of the open Vantage Black Sticks goal. This was the way the game finished with Malaysia taking the win 4-2.
Coach Darren Smith said “We had a valuable 10 days in Malaysia with 3 competitive test matches against a strong side. We take some valuable experience from this as we look towards the World Cup and our first game against France”.
The Vantage Black Sticks now head to India where they will take part in the Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup. Their first match is Friday 30th on Sky Sport 4 at 2:30am.
Malaysia : 4 (Razie Rahim 2’, Tengku Tajuddin 26’, Faizal Saari 49’, Aiman Rozemi 56’)
Vantage Black Sticks : 2 (Kane Russell 10’, George Muir 46’)