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Argentina hold their nerve in close battle with Black Sticks Men

The Vantage Black Sticks Men have gone down narrowly to Argentina 3-2 at Ngā Puna Wai on Sunday afternoon. The Kiwis battled throughout the contest and constructed several scoring chances. However, a stoic Argentina defence proved the difference between the two sides.

Black Sticks Coach Darren Smith said “We expected Argentina to come out and put a bit of pressure on which they did today. I thought we were able to respond well and if it weren’t for a difficult third quarter we were right in the contest”.

The Vantage Black Sticks played with a renewed confidence on Friday evening against the highly fancied Argentina Men. The Kiwis showed plenty of attacking flair in their 5-3 win and were looking to continue this on Sunday afternoon against the side from South America.

Argentina started the game in the best possible fashion when early in the first quarter they earned themselves a penalty corner. The flick proved to difficult for the Black Sticks goalkeeper Richard Joyce who was unable to keep it out of the back of the net.

Following the shock of the opening goal, the Kiwis immediately went into attack mode, they started to construct many scoring opportunities but were unable to get past the scrambling Argentina defence.

Needing to find a goal to get themselves back into the match, New Zealand turned to the local boy Sam Lane. After three penalty corners, Lane was eventually able to find a crack in the Argentina defence to tie the match back up at one goal apiece.

As the first half started winding down, the intensity disappeared from the contest as both sides were looking to alter their game plan as they searched for the tie-breaking goal just before the break.

Following a highly entertaining first half, neither team was able to get a definitive upper hand in the second match of the weekend between these two sides who like to play attacking hockey.

Needing to start the second half well as they looked to put themselves in front for the first time in the match, the Kiwis earned themselves back to back penalty corners within 30 seconds of the second half starting. The ball found its way into the Argentina goal only to be disallowed due to a dangerous ball in the circle.

Argentina put themselves back into the lead seven minutes into the second half when a tricky ball into the circle was picked up by Ignacio Ortiz who then put a rocket shot high into the New Zealand goal over Richard Joyce’s shoulder.

With time ticking down in the third quarter Argentina managed to extend their lead when a determined Maico Casella found some separation in the circle and then cracked a reverse tomahawk which went flying into the New Zealand goal.

With a needed three points up for grabs, the Vantage Black Sticks Men went into the final quarter knowing that they needed two goals to get themselves back into the contest.

Sam Lane brought New Zealand back into the contest when he slotted his third goal of the weekend and second goal of the match when Dylan Thomas found him open in the circle and Lane finished it off with a rocket squeeze shot to bring the Kiwis within one goal in the contest.

Argentina wouldn’t allow the Black Sticks to easily clear their defensive zone and forced a ball onto Nick Ross’s foot. Despite Argentina earning several shots back to back they were unable to find their fourth goal as the contest remained 3-2.

With time running out and the New Zealanders needing to find the equalizing goal to tie the match up, Darren Smith pulled the goalkeeper Richard Joyce in the hopes that the Kiwis could find the goal they were so desperate for.

Despite the best effort from the Kiwis, they were unable to find the equalizer as they would go on to lose the match 3-2.

Vantage Black Sticks 2 (Sam Lane 20, 49 min)

Argentina 3 (Jose Tolini 5 min, Ignacio Ortiz 37 min, Maico Casella 44 min)

Vantage Black Sticks

Argentina

2

Score

3

12

Shots

9

54%

Possession

46%

23

Circle Entries

15

6

Penalty Corners

3

  • March 1st, 2020 in
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