20 Jan 2018

Black Sticks fall short against India

3:58 pm on 20 January 2018

The New Zealand men's hockey team have been beaten three-one by India in their final pool match of the Four Nations in Tauranga this afternoon.

New Zealand men's hockey player Kane Russell

Black Sticks player Kane Russell Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Going into the last day of round robin New Zealand needed a win or draw against the world number six ranked Indians to guarantee a place in the final.

India's victory saw them move up to top of the table before Belgium came through with an emphatic 4-1 win over Japan to also jump the Kiwis based on a superior goal difference.

The Black Sticks will now have to settle for a third place playoff against Japan tomorrow before India and Belgium face off in the final.

India made a fast start to their clash against the Black ticks, scoring after just two minutes when Harmanpreet Singh found the back of the net off a penalty corner strike.

The visitors doubled their advantage in the 21st minute when Dilpreet Singh slipped through the defence for a field goal.

The Black Sticks lifted after the halftime break but still battled to break down the dogged Indian defensive unit.

Kane Russell kept New Zealand in the game late in the third quarter when he hammered a straight hit past the goalkeeper from a penalty corner.

Indian captain Manpreet Singh gave his side a buffer once more following a 47th field goal with New Zealand unable to mount a late comeback.

Experienced midfielder Arun Panchia said it was a tough game against extremely talented opponents.

"We knew it was always going to be a very tough game and India put together a good performance against us. They played well and deserved their win," he said.

"It's a really tight series here and anyone can beat anyone on their day. We are happy with parts of our game today but know we need to be better tomorrow."