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First-up draw for Black Sticks

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/04/2016

New Zealand have battled to a 3-3 draw in an up-tempo match against hosts Malaysia at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh.

Black Sticks striker Nick Wilson starred with a double in his 150th international appearance while Simon Child grabbed a late equaliser.

Black Sticks head coach Colin Batch was disappointed not to grab the win after creating a host of chances.

"We operated really well in the midfield throughout the game, and created a number of opportunities in the attacking circle," he said.

"The guys showed maturity to come back from behind twice, and we took control late in the fourth quarter but weren't able to score a winning goal."

Malaysia struck first, late in the first quarter, from a swift counter-attack which ended with Firhan Ashari flicking into goal over grounded Kiwi goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex.

Wilson levelled the scores in the 22nd minute from a solo run into the circle, beating three defenders before hitting past the keeper from a tight angle.

Wilson added another early in the second half, controlling a bouncing ball on the run and slipping the ball inside the left post.

Malaysia captain Razie Rahim equalised from a penalty corner in the 44th minute with a precision drag flick into the top corner of the net, then the hosts went ahead five minutes later after Shahril Saabah fired a penalty corner flick past the legs of Devon Manchester.

The Black Sticks drew level midway through the fourth quarter after six penalty corner attempts in a row, Child getting a perfect deflection on Kane Russell's flick.

New Zealand's next game in their title defence is against Canada late on Thursday.

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