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Flat Black Sticks Men fall to Japan

Black Sticks Men Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey
The Black Sticks Men will need to regroup after losing convincingly to Japan. PHOTO: BLACK STICKS

The Black Sticks Men have been dropped back to earth at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.


Following their 7-1 victory over Canada in their tournament opener on Saturday, the New Zealand men's hockey side fell 4-1 to 16th-ranked Japan at Stadium Sultan Azlan in Ipoh on Sunday.



The Black Sticks Men allowed a goal in every quarter, while they only rattled Japan's cage five minutes from full-time.


Japan opened the scoring in the 13th minute, before Yuma Nagai was yellow-carded in the opening minute of the second quarter. Greg Nicol's team failed to capitalise on the man-advantage, before having Malachi Buschi green-carded in the 23rd minute, leading immediately to Japan's second goal from a penalty corner.


Japan had another player green-carded but managed to take a 3-0 lead a minute later while a man down.


Scott Cosslett finally got New Zealand on the board in the 55th minute, on a third attempt at a penalty corner, but Japan had the final say with another penalty corner goal just before the final whistle.


The Blacks Sticks Men face Malaysia on Tuesday (12.30am Wednesday NZ Time), South Korea on Wednesday (10.15pm NZT) and Pakistan on Friday (8pm NZT).


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