New Zealand made a winning start to their FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup campaign, as two goals from Sam Hiha and another strike from Sam Lane helped them overcome debutants Chile in their Pool C match at the Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium on Saturday. Right from the start, New Zealand was able to establish a stronghold over Chile and made a lot of pressure on debutants. Chile also showed some solid resistance to brutal attacking by their opponents. With five minutes to go for the end of first quarter, Sam Lane swept the ball past goalkeeper Adrian Henriquez, invading the Chilean circle to establish an early lead.
Just a minute or so later, Sam Hiha swung into action, firing the ball past the goalkeeper to double the lead.
NZ’s Blair Tarrant got a green card, giving Chile a penalty corner and their first shot at the goal. However, Dom Dixon made the save to keep trouble at bay.
At the end of the first quarter, NZ was leading 2-0. The second quarter was less active. Hiha continued his rampage, scoring his second goal in the 18th minute, sending NZ to a 3-0 lead.
Chile earned two penalty corners, but New Zealand’s defence was a brick wall that could not be breached.
At half-time (30 minutes), New Zealand led the match 3-0.
In the third quarter, Chile got another shot at the goal through a penalty corner, but the shot went too wide. Findlay Sean of New Zealand got a green card, which reduced the Black Sticks to 10 men. In the fourth quarter end, the scoreline still read 3-0 in favour of NZ.
Chile scored their first-ever goal in the 49th minute, during the final quarter. A backhand sweep by Contardo Ignacio did the magic for Chile and the scoreline read 3-1, though still in favour of NZ. It was awarded after heavy deliberation due to the possibility of a back stick.
NZ earned three PCs, but Chile prevented further damage. Chile also got a PC of their own in the 57th minute, but could not make it 3-2.
The hooter went off and the scoreline read 3-1 in favour of New Zealand.
Next Pool C match will be between Netherlands and Malaysia at the same venue.
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