The New Zealand men will play for a Commonwealth Games hockey gold medal after stunning India 3-2 in the semi-finals tonight.
The New Zealanders were in sublime form and shrugged off India’s dominance over them in recent years to book a place in their first Games final since Manchester 2002, when they won a silver medal.
Striker Hugo Inglis put New Zealand on the board in the seventh minute when he ran the ball into the circle and smashed home from a stinging reverse shot.
The men in black doubled their lead five minutes later with Stephen Jenness showing his class from close range, slipping a back-stick flick through the goalkeeper’s legs.
India pulled a goal back just seconds out from halftime when they were awarded a penalty stroke, Harmanpreet Singh calmly slotting the attempt.
Marcus Child pushed the lead out to 3-1 midway through the third quarter when he scored from a penalty corner deflection, which Kane Russell pitched up in the air for him to shoot from the post.
The Indians poured on huge pressure in the final quarter and clawed within just one goal when Harmanpreet slotted a penalty corner flick in the 56th minute.
But New Zealand muscled up in defence and kept their composure to shut out India and celebrate a huge victory.
Goalkeeper Richard Joyce was heaped with praise post-match for an incredible performance during which he was called on to make several clutch saves.
The New Zealand men play either Australia England on Saturday.
New Zealand coach Darren Smith was thrilled with his side’s performance.
“For most of the game we had a two goal lead, which is really pleasing. India put us under pressure, especially in the third quarter, but I thought we handled it really well and then scored again,” he said.
“India came at us strongly, but they were down by two and had nothing to lose. I’m really impressed with the way we absorbed everything they threw at us.
“We would love another crack at Aussie in front of their home crowd. It’s always a tough battle and we love the challenge. If it’s England they are a great side also and we’ll get stuck into them too.”
Gold Coast 2018 Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games Richard Joyce Marcus Child Hugo Inglis Stephen Jenness Darren Smith Hockey