Black Sticks go down fighting to Argentina

By Hockey NZ

TheBlack Sticks Women have battled to a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Argentina at the Hockey Champions Trophy in London.

Having a good share of possession in the first half, New Zealand lamented their missed opportunities.

Assistant coach Sean Dancer said it was a disappointing result which effectively snuffs out any hope of reaching the final.

"Were disappointed with the results, in the first half we lacked the energy and tempo required to play the style we needed to," he said.

"In the second half we created opportunities to get back into the game but unfortunately Argentina were able to make the most of theirs. Well certainly be looking for a much better performance in our next game."

The first goal of the match came from a penalty corner in the 10th minute when Argentinas Florencia Habif was able to beat goalkeeper Sally Rutherford after the ball took an unlucky deflection off Sophie Cocks stick on its way into the goal.

New Zealand were put under more pressure early in the second quarter after Kirsten Pearce was shown a green card in the 21st minute.

Argentina doubled their lead two minutes later with a simple tap in from Carla Rebecchi, who punished Rutherford who wasnt able to clear an innocuous goal line cross.

Replacing Rutherford at halftime, Amelia Gibson produced a great one-on-one save early in the third quarter. Moments later Argentina took a 3-0 lead with the Kiwis undone upon video referral after Argentina scored from distance via Rebecchis 33rd minute angled shot.

The goal was initially denied by the umpire for a back of stick violation and New Zealand looked justifiably unimpressed with the reversal of the original decision, with replays suggesting there was an umpire whistle before the ball ended up in the goal.

The Black Sticks worked their way back into the game with a 37th minute goal from Sophie Cocks who scored with a well taken shot after turning cleverly while under pressure from two Argentine defenders.

19-year-old Maria Granatto scored in the 47th minute following some fantastic individual play and a powerful shot which beat a diving Gibson, Argentina seemed to have put the game out of reach for the Black Sticks.

With just eight minutes remaining Cocks looked to have grabbed a second goal at the end of a fast counter attack but NZ were undone by another video referral which showed a slight deflection from her shin prior to the final shot.

Olivia Merry managed to grab the Black Sticks second goal in the 56th minute when she made a lung busting run to get on the end of a good baseline pass from Kelsey Smith, following a nice team move which started with an elusive run by Anita McLaren.

Unfortunately, the Kiwis couldnt break their Champions Trophy drought against Argentina having played out two draws and seven losses in nine previous tournament meetings prior to todays result.

The days other games, Netherlands edged Australia 2-1 and hosts Great Britain take on USA later in the final match of the day.

The Black Sticks go up against USA in their final game of the round robin at 1:00am Sunday morning (NZ time), with live coverage on SKY Sport 2.

BLACK STICKS 2: (Sophie Cocks, Olivia Merry)

ARGENTINA 4: (Florencia Habif, Carla Rebecchi x2, Maria Granatto)

Halftime: Argentina 3-1

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Hockey NZ

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