IPOH (MALAYSIA), April 9: Nic Woods converted two penalty corners to hand defending champions New Zealand a 5-3 victory over Pakistan in the round-robin league of the 25th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament, here today.
Twin strikes by Woods in the space of three minutes put New Zealand on winning course after the teams were level 2-2 at half-time.
Back to winning habit after being held to draws by Malaysia and Canada in their initial two outings, New Zealand took their points tally for five, while Pakistan have three points from two matches.
Pakistan had beaten Canada 3-1 in their opening fixture.
Pakistan opened the account in the eighth minute through Muhammad Arslan Qadir, who flicked in Ajaz Ahmed�s cross just wide of goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex.
Pakistan could have increased the lead two minutes later from their first penalty corner when the shot deflected off the goalkeeper�s pads to the goal-post and back into play. The Black Sticks defenders did not have a clue about the ball�s direction until it was cleared in a melee.
New Zealand drew parity in the 12th minute when George Muir�s diagonal cross was deflected into the boards by Stephen Jenness.
Captain Simon Child put the Black Sticks ahead for the first time in the 19th minute when his reverse shot from top of the circle went through Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Butt�s pads.
Pakistan then forced seven penalty corners in the space of three minutes, four of them in a succession before equalising in the 21st minute. Muhammad Irfan Jr found the target in a scrimmage following a penalty corner shot.
New Zealand left Pakistan way behind with three goals in a four minute burst. Two strikes by Woods (39th and 42nd minutes) and one by Kane Russell (43rd) on penalty corners stunned Pakistan.
Pakistan tried to stage a comeback and exerted a lot of pressure on New Zealand, but could only reduce the margin by a goal. Qadir scored his second goal for Pakistan in the 52nd minute before New Zealand closed the gaps in their defence.
Australia beat Malaysian: World champions Australia spanked hosts Malaysia 5-1 to surge to the top of the standings in the 25th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament, here today. � PTI