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Australian loss puts heat on Black Sticks

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/04/2016

The New Zealand men's hockey team have been beaten by Australia 1-0 which means a must-win final match against India if they want to have a chance of defending their Azlan Shah Cup title.

The Australian men took control of Tuesday's game in Ipoh early on, putting the Black Sticks' defence under sustained pressure in 36C temperatures.

Their early dominance was rewarded with a goal in the 22nd minute from five-time World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer.

The New Zealanders fought back after the Kookaburras had a goal to have the better of the second half and came painfully close to equalising on several occasions in the dying stages of the match.

New Zealand now have two wins, two draws and one loss at the seven-nation tournament going into a must-win final match of round robin against India on Wednesday.

Coach Colin Batch said the end result was disappointing but there were a lot of positives.

"They took it to us in the first half and we had trouble breaking down their play but I thought we played very well defensively and limited them to just one goal.

"Overall its disappointing not to get the result but to be able to push the best in the world so closely is pleasing and shows that as a team we are really building in belief."

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