|December 10th, 2009|
|10||Pool A||2:00pm||NZL - CHN||2 - 2 (0 - 1)||Final|
New Zealand were immediately on the attack, wanting to collect the three points that would qualify them for the semi-finals before the final game of pool A between India and Belgium. Their plan went immediately awry went China played quickly a free hit close to the circle and Xiantang LIU managed to deflect it in goal in the 4th minute of play. This seemed to take some wind out of the Black Sticks’ sails, play slowed down for a while and they missed two penalty-corners chances.
The Chinese players were closing down very quickly on the New Zealanders, efficiently keeping them out of the circle and cleverly defending some of the dangerous incursions by Phillip BURROWS and Simon CHILD. After a yellow card to Nicholas HAIG, China pushed forward more and Yi SONG nearly increased the score after a solitary raid amongst the defenders.
The final minutes of the period were exclusively played in the Chinese 25m but Rui XU was giant in the Chinese goal to keep the Black Sticks at bay and maintain the slim advantage going into the break. It is only in the 42nd minute that a good combination found Nicholas WILSON with some space on the penalty-stroke mark and he made no mistake to slot the ball in goal. Less than one minute later, New Zealand were in the lead, this time by Hugo INGLIS.
China were not down yet and came back level in the 57th minute with a well executed penalty-corner option concluded by Yixian LIU that left no chance to Kyle PONTIFEX in the Black Sticks goal. He nevertheless averted another goal a few minutes later to keep his team alive. New Zealand missed another penalty-corner late in the game and could have scored in a last second rush, but the two teams ended up tied, giving China their first point of the competition and New Zealand the point they needed to secure their berth in the semi-finals.