Black Sticks go down 2-0 to China in Argentina

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 12:49 01/12/2013

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The New Zealand women's hockey team has made a disappointing start to the World League final tournament in Argentina, losing 2-0 to China today.

The Black Sticks dominated all statistics other than the one that really counted and have been left to lick a fair few wounds ahead of their second match, against the hosts on Tuesday.

China, who at No 7 in the world are ranked three spots below the Kiwis, pounced early with a goal in the seventh minute from a penalty corner. 

They clung to the one-goal lead until nine minutes from fulltime when they nailed the Black Sticks' coffin closed with a goal from another penalty corner.

Despite New Zealand dominating the shots at goal (10-3), circle penetrations (18-9), possession (55 per cent to 45) and having five penalty corners of their own, the scoreline could actually have read worse for the Black Sticks.

Kiwi goalkeeper Sally Rutherford saved a penalty stroke in the first half and China botched an open goal late in the match.

New Zealand had their chances but lacked China's clinical finishing touch.

Qiuxia Cui found herself in the right spot to pounce in the seventh minute after Rutherford had initially saved a penalty corner shot from Na Wang, while a mistrapped penalty corner with nine minutes remaining worked out well for China with the ball making its way to an unmarked Huang Ting to finish.

In other results, England hammered South Korea 6-2 and the Netherlands swept aside Germany 6-0.

Australia meet world No 1 Argentina, New Zealand's next opponent in pool B, later today.

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- Fairfax Media

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