NEW ZEALAND’s Black Sticks men cemented their place in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games semi-finals drubbing Malaysia 6-1 at the National Hockey Stadium on Thursday.
Brad Shaw, Nick Haig, Hugo Inglis, Shea McAleese added to a brace from Andy Hayward inflicted the damage before Malaysia captain Razie Abdul Rahim flicked their only reply.
The Kiwis continued their great run of form and opened the scoring from a penalty corner through Hayward after just 4 minutes.
Malaysia created avenues in attack through the diminutive (5ftins) Faiz Jali but the New Zealand defence was up to the task.
Six minutes before the break, Black Sticks left-back Brad Shaw dispossessed a Malaysian forward, before surging forward drifting left to right, across the pitch.
He off-loaded (behind his back) to Arun Panchia, picked up the return pass on the right side of the circle and slotted home past Muhammad Othman’s near post to go two-up.
The goal was his fourth in international hockey.
In the second half Simon Child, tireless through the attacking midfield, probed and passed, feeding Steve Edwards who fired over the bar.
A fantastic save by Othman low to his right denied Nick Haig from a penalty corner, but Haig found the backboard minutes later after intercepting Malaysian defender Kevin Lim’s clearance.
Three minutes later, Child drove down the baseline and pulled ball back for Inglis to slot home with ease.
The onslaught continued on 48 minutes, Hayward getting his second from a penalty corner, flicking low to Othman’s left.
The sixth came 60 seconds later, with Child again the protagonist, his 360 spin in the circle fell to McAleese who flicked home.
In the final ten minutes, the New Zealanders suffered a rare lapse in concentration, and Jali enjoyed several incisive forward runs, drifting past tackles, and the sustained Malaysian pressure, buoyed by a vocal corner of the stand, earned the Asians a penalty corner with 11 minutes left to play.
Captain Rahim stepped up and fired an unstoppable flick into Manchester Devon’s bottom left corner.
The Black Sticks regained composure and held on to see out the last ten minutes with no further damage.
Speaking after the game, Kevin Lim said: “We are quite disappointed.
“The only good thing about it is that we achieved the seventh place match.
“In the second half we had two many lacks in our game and gave cheap goals away.
“We came here with a young team so were not expecting too much.
“It started well against Canada with the win, and the first half against England was good, but after that was a turn-around.”
New Zealand’s Brad Shaw, called the game ‘patchy’ and felt despite the result, there was work to be done.
He believed part of the Kiwi’s good form this tournament has been down to an ethic of discipline in concentrating only on the game in hand, and said the team would not be allowing themselves to think beyond the next game, against either India or South Africa.
He said: “The result was great, we had a feeling that if we scored a couple they would waver a bit away from their plan.
“It could have been easy to slip into thinking of the semi-final and not the game, but the boys didn’t do that, though it was a bit messy towards the end of the game.”
Speaking of his goal, he joked: “I told the guys ‘See, you don’t have to hit it hard to score’.
“I was more happy with the fact I turned the ball over.”