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Black Sticks to play for third in Malaysia

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/05/2017

A 3-2 loss to Great Britain has consigned New Zealand to a play-off for the third at the six-nation men's hockey tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia.

The Black Sticks needed victory in their last qualifying match at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to have any chance of contesting the final on Saturday.

However, a second loss left them staring at the bronze medal match against India.

An evenly-fought first half featured goals to Great Britain's Sam Ward in the ninth minute from a penalty corner and New Zealand's Dominic Newman with a diving effort just before halftime.

The British pulled two clear through Phil Roper and Mark Gleghorne either side of the three-quarter mark.

Kane Russell scored his fourth goal of the tournament from a penalty corner drag flick but his team couldn't find an equaliser over the closing minutes.

Black Sticks coach Darren Smith says Great Britain's superior finishing was the ultimate difference.

"We weren't as clinical as we needed to be in the midfield and attacking third and that really let us down," he said.

"We let in a couple of soft goals off counter attacks and struggling to get much going on attack."

New Zealand have a score to settle with India, having lost 3-0 to them in pool play.

Defending champions Australia will face Great Britain in the final.

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