Game 2 of the three-test series was played on another humid day in Kuala Lumpur. The Vantage Black Sticks were forced into one change for the match with Sam Lane coming in to the squad to replace Nick Ross who was resting a tight calf.
The Vantage Black Sticks were looking for a more consistent performance after a solid outing in game one.
Capitalising on the opportunities that they create in the attacking zone was going to be key for the team to come away with an improved performance.
The game started off with the Vantage Black Sticks showing some great ball movement and patience as they looked for their opportunities to break into the Malaysian circle.
In the 4th minute of the game Cory Bennett drove along the baseline and popped a ball across the circle to an unmarked George Muir who flicked the ball past the goalie’s shoulder.
The Vantage Black Sticks continued applying pressure on the Malaysian team and were unlucky not to be able to extend their lead.
In the 20th minute Aidan Sarikaya found himself on the end of some silky skills in the circle from Stephen Jenness where his flick over the keeper only just missed the goal.
AIdan Sarikaya was there to put the ball in the goal.
Malaysia then hit back almost instantly as some sloppy defending allowed Firhan Ashari an opportunity to sweep the ball past Richard Joyce and into the goal to make the score 2-1.
This was the score we went into the half time break with as both teams were playing some attacking hockey and allowed for some great opportunities and near misses.
The 3rd quarter started with Malaysia applying a large amount of pressure on the Vantage Black Sticks.
The Vantage Black Sticks then struggled to clear the ball out of the circle and lifted it into a Malaysian player conceding a penalty corner. Faizal Saari then stepped up and flicked a shot home.
The 3rd quarter produced several opportunities for each side, but neither was able to capitalise.
The Vantage Black Sticks started the 4th quarter strongly when Hugo Inglis drove into the circle and found a Malaysian foot.
Up stepped Kane Russell who powered a flick home bottom right to make the score 3-2. Malaysia scored their 3rd almost instantly when a saved drag flick then was tapped in by Nabil Noor which set up an exciting last ten minutes in the match.
Eventually Kane Russell broke the deadlock with a high fast drag flick that put the Vantage Black Sticks in the lead 4-3 a lead they eventually held after withstanding a barrage of pressure from the Malaysian side.
The Vantage Black Sticks now lead the 3 match test series 2-0. The two sides will meet in the final test on November 22nd at 11pm (NZT).
Black Sticks Captain Blair Tarrant said of the performance “Overall it was a good performance.
It was good to be put under pressure by a Malaysian side that kept coming back at us and then to be tested against 11 men for the final few minutes once they pulled their goalkeeper”.
Vantage Black Sticks: 4 (George Muir 4’, Aidan Sarikaya 20’ Kane Russell 47’ 51’)
Malaysia: 3 (Firhan Ashari 21’, Faizal Saari 42’, Nabil Noor 48’)