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New Zealand have suffered a shock defeat in the quarter-finals of the Champions Challenge men's hockey tournament in Malaysia.

The sixth-ranked Black Sticks, favoured to win the tournament, were beaten in a penalty shootout by the hosts, who are ranked No 13, after scores were locked 4-4 at fulltime.

The result is a blow to New Zealand as the challenge winners were guaranteed an automatic spot at the 2016 Champions Trophy.

''Right now there's a lot of disappointment in the group as you'd expect," coach Colin Batch said.

New Zealand will now rely on an invitation from the International Hockey Federation to fill the one discretionary spot in the eight-team field for the Champions Trophy, to be staged in Argentina.

New Zealand were in trouble at halftime, trailing 4-1. However three penalty corner flicks from Andy Hayward - his third coming in the final minute of regulation time - took the game into a shootout.

New Zealand, using the same group who had performed strongly at the World League final in New Delhi in January, went 2-0 up while the Malaysians missed their first two. However three successive missed shots cost New Zealand dearly and allowed Malaysia back into the contest, and ultimately snatch a surprising win.

''It's always hard coming back from a three-goal deficit. I'm proud of my players ... the way they fought back and creating a lot of chances," Batch said.

"In a shootout, it is always dicey but that's how it is. We are certainly disappointed at losing this way."

The result means New Zealand can finish no higher than fifth.

They face Poland, whom they beat 8-3 in pool play, on Saturday night in the 5th to 8th classification.

Result: Malaysia 4 (Muhammad Subbah 2, Azlan Misron, Fitri Saari) New Zealand 4 (Andy Hayward 3, Steve Edwards). HT: 4-1.
Malaysia won 3-2 on penalties.

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