Black Sticks women fall to hosts Argentina 2-1
The Black Sticks' women remain winless at the World League final tournament in Tucuman after a 2-1 loss to hosts Argentina today.
New Zealand were desperate for competition points after a disappointing 2-0 loss to China in their opening game of the tournament yesterday.
Argentina had the better of the opportunities early on in the sweltering heat, but it was New Zealand who went ahead after 20 minutes through a deadly finish from Anita Punt.
The ball fell to Punt in the goal circle, who fired a bullet into the left of the goal, leaving Argentina goalkeeper Belen Succi with no chance.
Argentina, are ranked No 1 in women's hockey for a reason, and replied straight back, two minutes later.
New Zealand goalkeeper Sally Rutherford was able to keep out the difficult first effort, but the ball fell straight to Delfina Merino, who levelled the scores.
Argentina made a bright start to the second half and went close to scoring, but Carla Rebecchi fired over the bar.
They found the back of the net shortly after when Rebecchi's shot was kept out by Rutherford, but the rebound fell to Merino, who pounced for her second of the game.
New Zealand gained their first penalty corner early into the second half, but Punt sent her powerfully hit shot wide of the goal.
Petrea Webster earned a penalty corner for New Zealand on the final play of the game, but the Black Sticks were unable to capitalise off it.
Goalkeeper Rutherford had an outstanding game for New Zealand keeping out several promising Argentine efforts, while captain Kayla Sharland produced several menacing runs.
The Black Sticks now find themselves bottom of their group after two pool games. It means they are likely to face the might of the Netherlands, who are unbeaten at the tournament, in the second stage of the competition.
New Zealand's final group game is against Australia on Wednesday. The teams then cross over with the other pool in the quarterfinal round.
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