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Neal double lifts Black Sticks to win

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/06/2017

A Brooke Neal double has lifted the Black Sticks to a 2-0 win over Australia at the Women's Hockey World League Semi-Final tournament in Brussels.

` © Kerry Marshall A Brooke Neal double has lifted the Black Sticks to a 2-0 win over Australia at the Women's Hockey World League Semi-Final tournament in Brussels. ` A Brooke Neal double has lifted the Black Sticks to a 2-0 win over Australia at the women's hockey World League Semi Final tournament in Brussels.

The Kiwis dominated across the turf, with close to 60 per cent of possession, but it was an outstanding defensive effort which set up the win.

They shut down the Australian attack, leaving the world No.4 Hockeyroos without a shot on goal for the entire match.

In the process, the Kiwis recorded their second clean sheet of the tournament after seeing off Spain 1-0 in their opening match three days ago.

Neal's penalty corner drag flick goals in the first and fourth quarters sealed the win, which leaves world No.5 New Zealand top of Pool B with six points.

She opened the scoring in the 15th minute, rocketing a drag flick into the back of the net before delivering her second of match in the 57th minute with her flick deflecting off a defender's stick and into the goal.

"It's always good to get one up over the Aussies and every time we play them we go out with a winning mindset," Neal said.

"It's really good to come away with a clean score sheet - it's something we've been working hard on defensively and then to be able to convert two penalty corners is pleasing.

The Kiwis now shift their focus to their next match against Belgium early on Monday (NZT).

"This tournament is really tight, so we need to make sure we are diligent and take advantage of any chances in the attacking circle."

The top four finishers at the 10-nation tournament will qualify for the World League Final in Auckland in November. The Black Sticks are already guaranteed a place as hosts.

There are also five automatic berths available for the 2018 World Cup in London, although this number could increase, depending on results from subsequent continental championship tournaments.

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