The Belgium Men have continued their fantastic start to 2020 with another clinical 3-1 win over the Black Sticks Men. The Kiwis produced a much more consistent effort across the turf and will be looking for further improvements next week when they come across Great Britain.
Vantage Black Sticks Men's assistant coach Glenn Turner commented "We were happier with the performance tonight; we need to find more consistency throughout the match. When we have opportunities, we must make the most of them".
After a horror start in their first match, the Vantage Black Sticks Men came out in the second match looking more composed on both ends of the turf. The first quarter was an arm wrestle where neither side was able to construct any significant goalscoring opportunities.
Entering the second quarter, the Kiwis started on a tear as they stormed into the Belgium circle and earned themselves a penalty corner. Despite several back to back penalty corners, they were unable to get any clear shots off due to the outstanding penalty corner running of the Belgium defence.
Belgium absorbed the early pressure and then started to play with freedom as the quarter wore on. In the 4th minute of the second quarter, Alexander Hendrickx powered his flick past New Zealand goalkeeper Richard Joyce to put the Belgians in the lead.
Moments later Belgium had their second goal of the match when Sebastien Dockier spun away from a couple of New Zealand defenders and powered his shot into the side of the New Zealand goal.
The Vantage Black Sticks Men managed to find their footing in the third quarter as they managed to pull a goal back through a diving deflection to Black Sticks Captain Blair Tarrant.
Looking to find an early goal in the fourth quarter the Kiwis went immediately went onto the ascendency as they came close to tying the contest up only to be denied by the Belgium defence.
Belgium with eight minutes to go in the match, managed to extend their lead when the Black Sticks were unable to clear their defensive circle. Tanguy Cosyns grabbed the rebound and their with precision shot it into the New Zealand goal.
Belgium then held their nerve to see off a strong challenge from New Zealand. The Black Sticks will now turn their attention to their next contest when they take on Great Britain next Saturday at the National Hockey Centre.
Vantage Black Sticks Men 1 (Blair Tarrant 34 min)
Belgium 3 (Alexander Hendrickx 19 min, Sebastien Dockier 24 min, Tanguy Cosyns 53 min)