KUANTAN, May 1 (Bernama) -- New Zealand's hopes of winning the Champions Challenge 1 evaporated in the blistering hot weather conditions in Kuantan which reached 34 Celsius when the Kiwis lost to Malaysia 2-3 in a penalty shootout after both teams were tied 4-4 in regulation time.
The Kiwis, ranked world number six and the pre-tournament favourites, were in fact trailing 1-4 at half-time before clawing back to level 4-4 and forcing the penalty shootout at the Indera Mahkota Hockey Stadium today.
New Zealand however, were the early aggressors when they took the lead as early as the fourth minute through Steve Edwards but the Malaysia boys who had come under heavy criticism after losses to France and South Korea, came alive in the 21st minute the level the tie through skipper Azlan Misron's 21st minute strike.
With the Kiwis still smarting the equaliser, Malaysia scored a quick brace through Muhammad Shahril Saabah in the 23rd minute and Mohd Fitri Saari, a minute later.
Muhammad Sharil again found the target to put Malaysia 4-1 up before half time with clinical finish in the 31st minute.....