Black Sticks earn draw with Argentina

By David Leggat

Katie Glynn of the Black Sticks. Photo / Getty Images.
Katie Glynn of the Black Sticks. Photo / Getty Images.

The Black Sticks have a chance to win their five-game test series against Argentina after drawing the fourth international 3-3 in Rosario today.

Goals to striker Katie Glynn and midfielders Anita Punt and Gemma Flynn ensured the game against the Olympic silver medallists would continue New Zealand's improvement as the series has advanced.

New Zealand lost the first international 4-1, drew the second 1-1 and bagged a 4-1 win on Wednesday.

That suggests steady progress, and captain for the day Punt admitted as much.

"There is definitely more understanding of our structure and we're working together," she said.

"You can tell came by game we are building as a team."

Argentina led New Zealand, who are ranked No 3 in the world, one spot behind their hosts, 3-2 at halftime.

However Flynn's goal early in the second half tied things up and New Zealand had one final opportunity with a penalty corner in the closing seconds, which was blocked.

World No 2 Argentina brought on their star player, Luciana Aymar in the second half as they sought to put the game to bed. But it's a sign of growing self-belief that the third-ranked Black Sticks, using a different structure, were good enough to share the points.
There was less space in the midfield than in Wednesday's game, as Argentina adjusted to New Zealand's approach.

However Punt believed a win had been achievable.

"It felt a little flat today and took us a while to fire. We're happy to come away with a draw, but disappointed we didn't get a win.

"There were a few disappointing calls from the refs but we have to roll with that."

The series decider is in Rosario tomorrow. Wednesday's win was just New Zealand's eighth in 49 internationals against Argentina. They've always been difficult opponents for the Black Sticks, and a small slice of history beckons coach Mark Hager and his team tomorrow.

- NZ Herald

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