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A gutsy second half and a last minute goal has seen the junior men's Black Sticks draw 3-3 against Pakistan in their first game of the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia today.
Pakistan had a three-goal advantage after 30 minutes, thanks to a successful penalty corner and two field goals, but the New Zealand under-21 team fought back and made it count in the final 20 minutes of the game.
The first goal for the Kiwis came in the 50th minute when Brennan Alexander-Parker made his way into the circle and passed to Jared Panchia to deflect in. Benedict van Woerkom then hit a cracking reverse stick hit to reduce the deficit to just one, before a trademark drag flick from Southern player Kane Russell levelled the score.
"We struggled in the first half with poor passing and trapping skills and Pakistan really dominated," coach Grant Edwards said. "But it was much improved in the second half, we moved the ball quickly through the midfield and managed to stretch Pakistan from side to side.
"However, we will be looking for better execution of core skills in our game tomorrow, the connection between defence and midfield will need to improve."
The next game is against Malaysia at 1.05am (NZT) tomorrow morning. The Kiwis will also play Germany, India and Australia.