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Kiwis stun Koreans, keep semis hopes alive

Source: PTI
March 05, 2010 19:11 IST
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New Zealand survived waves of Korean attacks before pulling off a 2-1 upset victory to keep alive their semi-final hopes in the hockey World Cup in Delhi on Friday.

The Black Sticks, ranked three places below their opponents at eighth, scored through Andrew Hayward (fourth minute) and Dean Couzins (22nd) in their third Pool A match.

Korea pulled one back, Lee Nam Yong scoring from a penalty stroke in the last minute.

The Kiwis defended their citadel admirably well against the Koreans, who did most of the attacking in front of a handful of spectators at the Major Dhyan Chand stadium.

The victory kept New Zealand in contention for a semi-final berth. They have two wins and a loss from three matches, and two more matches to play -- against Argentina and Germany.

With a draw and a win from three matches, Korea are not out of contention but they will find it difficult to make it to the semi-finals as they play Canada and the Netherlands in their remaining matches.

Korea have themselves to blame, as they did most of the attacking throughout the match and failed to score from seven penalty-corners they got, six in the second half.

New Zealand, who had made it to the World Cup through a qualifier, took the early lead when Andrew Hayward scored from a penalty-corner in the fourth minute.

Korea pressed hard for an equaliser but their forwards failed to give the finishing touches and the Kiwi defenders maintained tight man-marking, denying their opponents space and penalty-corners they were looking for.

Korea could not convert their only penalty-corner of the first half, in the ninth minute, and in the 11th minute a nice reverse stick shot from their hard-working captain Jong Ho Seo was too high to create any problem for Black Stuis goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex.

Against the run of play, New Zealand got a penalty stroke in the 22nd minute and captain Dean Couzins did not make any mistake to take his side to 2-0 at the breather.

The Koreans regrouped themselves in the second session and New Zealand had mostly to defend inside their own 25 yards.

Shin Seok Kyo's side wasted seven penalty-corners in the second session, either finding a defender or the goalkeeper or failing to stop the ball to take the penalty-corner hit.

At the fag end of the match Korea were awarded a penalty-stroke by Indian referee Satinder Kumar, which Lee Nam Yong converted. But that was too late in the day.

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