- New Zealand score six against South Africa
- Australia make it two wins from two with win against Scotland
- Pakistan leave it late again to draw against England
- India get first win
Gold Coast, Australia: New Zealand scored six goals for the second match in a row as they continued their impressive form in the men’s hockey at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
This time South Africa were the victims, the African champions struggling to find form with two losses from two matches so far.
Hosts Australia built on their solid start as they defeated Scotland 6-1, while India picked up their first win of the event, 4-3 against Wales.
Following their last second goal to draw with rivals India yesterday, Pakistan once again relied on a late penalty corner to draw today, this time 2-2 against England.
New Zealand’s Black Sticks were arguably the most impressive in their victory and looked in total control from the opening whistle. By half-time they were leading 4-0 then netted another two goals in the fourth quarter.
Kane Russell scored a double from penalty corners while Jared Panchia, Nic Woods, George Muir and Nick Ross added to the tally to keep New Zealand unbeaten so far on the Gold Coast.
Captain Arun Panchia was pleased with his side’s performance and progression in the competition. He said: “To put out six goals and have a clean sheet is always a good performance. South Africa are a good team but we are well aware of their threats and dealt with them well.”
Earlier in the day England and Pakistan played out a heated match under the searing afternoon sun.
Both teams pressed for an opener in the first two quarters, with Pakistan and England both missing great chances from open play and penalty corners.
It wasn’t until the 32nd minute that Pakistan made the breakthrough when Muhammad Irfan Jr. made a tight turn to outplay his marker and shoot beyond England goalkeeper Harry Gibson.
Their lead didn’t last long however as just over a minute later Mark Gleghorne scored his third of the tournament. His corner flick was deflected past Imran Butt, the Pakistan goalkeeper.
England then took the lead in the 50th minute as a clever penalty corner routine saw Ward smash the ball beyond Pakistan ‘keeper.
To their frustration England could not hold on to their advantage and with only three minutes remaining Ali Mubashar’s shot was deflected over England goalkeeper George Pinner’s outstretched leg by Barry Middleton, tying up the game at 2-2.
India will be buoyed by this evening’s hard fought 4-3 victory against Wales having dropped points to Pakistan in the last seconds of their match yesterday.
The Asian champions were desperate for their first win to keep their Semi-Final qualification hopes alive but Wales put them under considerable pressure throughout this match, testing the Indian team’s resilience through their strong defensive structure.
It was SV Sunil who proved the hero for India, scoring in the final minutes with a second attempt at deflecting a Rupinder Pal Singh dragflick which had rebounded off the Welsh goalkeeper’s pads.
Dilpreet Singh (16), Mandeep Singh (28) and Harmanpreet Singh (57) were the other goal scorers for India.
For Wales, Gareth Furlong scored a hat-trick to snatch India’s lead on three occasions (17, 45 and 58 minutes), converting three out of the four Welsh penalty corners to keep the Welsh in touch with their opponents throughout this match.
Afterwards, India’s Manpreet Singh said: “We didn’t expect a hard game. We missed a few good chances and made it hard for ourselves. We shouldn’t give them easy penalty corners and we need to fix our defensive structure.”
The last game of the day saw the hosts take to the field in front of another bumper crowd.
Scotland, looking to bounce back after their 1-0 loss to Canada yesterday, looked nervous in the opening stages and struggled to cope with Australia’s power and skill.
The world’s number one team showed no mercy as they scored four goals within the first quarter through Aran Zalewski, Daniel Beale and Tom Wickham and a penalty corner from Dylan Wotherspoon.
Flynn Ogilvie got in on Australia’s action after 19 minutes before Scotland scored a consolation through Robert Harwood two minutes later.
Whilst Scotland grew into the game there was no way back from such a deficit against the World Cup, World League, Champions Trophy and Oceania champions.
Aaron Kleinschmidt got Australia’s sixth and final goal in the 42nd minute to make it two wins from two for the defending Commonwealth Games champions who are without doubt treating home fans to some world-class hockey.
Matches in both the women’s and men’s hockey events at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will be taking place until 14 April. For the full event schedule, click here.
The men’s hockey event at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games is one of the last major international events before the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 taking place in India between 28 November and 16 December. For more information about that event, click here.
For Gold Coast 2018 hockey tickets, click here.
Images: World Sport Pics | Grant Treeby