Rio Olympics 2016: Black Sticks lose to Spain in agonising fashion
A last-minute goal to Spain has inflicted a painful defeat on the Black Sticks men at the Rio Olympics on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ Time).
Xavi Lleonart deflected a miss-hit shot home to hand the Spaniards a 3-2 win and maintain their unbeaten start to the competition.
The Black Sticks, who had twice got back on level terms, now face a battle to reach the quarterfinals having one draw and two losses to their name so far.
Roc Oliva put the Spaniards ahead after a scramble following a penalty corner before bit of magic from Black Sticks skipper Simon Child levelled the scores.
Child weaved his way into the goalmouth and then flicked the ball into the air and volleyed home past Quico Cortes in Spain's goal.
But Spain restored their advantage when Alex Casasayas prodded home from close range after a precision pass from Alvaro Iglesias while Nick Wilson hit the post with a reverse stick shot.
Blacks Sticks goalkeeper Devon Manchester made two smart saves before Child levelled the scores just before the break from a penalty corner, squeezing a fierce shot through Cortes' legs.
The Blacks Sticks' goal was put under siege in the second half but had looked to have weathered the storm only for a second yellow card to Blair Hilton to leave them one short in the final moments and Spain pounced.
The first-time shot from Iglesias' was going wide but Lleonart got a stick to it to send it past Manchester with 27 seconds left.
Child, who left the field after diving full stretch late in the match, was seen clutching his ribs after the match.
They currently sit fourth in Pool A on one point, ahead of Great Britain on countback, with matches against hosts Brazil on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) and second-placed Belgium on Friday (Saturday NZT). Boosting NZ's last-eight prospects is that Great Britain's final two matches come against Australia and Spain. Great Britain play Brazil later on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT).