Ipoh: Defending champions New Zealand defeated Korea 3-0 to register their first win in the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament here Tuesday. By virtue of today's win after suffering consecutive defeats in the opening two encounters, the Black Sticks have managed to keep alive their title defence hopes in the invitational tournament.
New Zealand took control of the proceedings early in the match and forged ahead in the fifth minute through Hugo Inglis' field goal. As the Koreans were trying to recover from the early strike, New Zealand doubled their lead in the 11th minute when Cory Bennett scored from their first penalty corner with a fierce dragflick which the Korean goalkeeper Kim Jae Hyeon had no answer.
The Koreans had the first feel of the opposition goal in the later stages of the opening half but Kim Seong Kyu, comfortably placed inside the 'D', wasted the opportunity as New Zealand went into the breather with a 2-0 lead. The Black Sticks started the second half on the same pace and mounted numerous raids into the Korean citadel from the very beginning.
Their efforts bore soon fruit when Andy Hayward converted a penalty corner in the 41st minute to make the scoreline 3-0 in favour of New Zealand. Korea, thereafter, tried hard to forge a comeback but it was not to be as New Zealand put up a strong defence to deny any scoring chance to their opponents.