PIC COURTESY OF SPORTS MEDIA GROUP.COM.AU
Australia qualified for the final of the 22nd edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup when they edged New Zealand 3-2 this evening.
With the Aussie win, Malaysia is also through to the final, rendering their match against India of academic interest.
New Zealand will play either Korea or India, for the bronze medal. India needs to win against Malaysia to secure a 3/4 placing playoff.
Australia needed a draw to make the final and take Malaysia along with them while a Kiwi win would mean either Australia or Malaysia will be out of the equation.
Australia nearly went ahead from their third penalty corner in the 15th minute, but the Kiwi keeper Hamish Mcgregor was in his element as he stood his ground and cleared the ball quickly.
Two more penalty corners were squandered by Australia before New Zealand struck the opening goal.
Isaac Staples weaved through the left flank and his cross found Jacob Smith who tapped it to give the Black Sticks the lead in the 27th minute.
And New Zealand came close twice in increasing their lead but Australia held on and at halftime New Zealand led 1-0.
Australia hit a purple patch upon resumption of the second half.
Jacob Whetton put Australia on level terms in the 37th minute and a minute later was on target to score his team's second.
Matt Ghodes touched on an attempt by Daniel Mirecki in the 42nd minute to increase the advantage for Australia just before the rain started.
The match officials were forced to suspend play in the 50th minute due to the adverse weather conditions.
New Zealand reduced the deficit via Cory Bennett in the 56th minute but could not fight back for a place in the final