Black Sticks lose final match of rough series against Argentina




A flurry of late goals highlighted New Zealand's 2-1 loss to Argentina in the final match of their five-Test series in Buenos Aires.

Black Sticks' Anita McLaren

Source: Photosport

The fourth-ranked Black Sticks lost the series 4-1 to world No.3 Argentina, who had beaten England by the same scoreline in a home series earlier this month.

Although the final match on Wednesday (NZT) was effectively a dead rubber, the Black Sticks defended with more desperation than in several heavier losses.

The scores were locked 0-0 through the first three quarters in a game again dominated by the hosts but markedly different on the scoreboard to the fourth Test, which Argentina won 5-0.

Argentina scored with 10 minutes remaining through Martina Cavallero, who found space in the New Zealand circle to slip a shot past goalkeeper Grace O'Hanlon.

Five minutes later the hosts doubled their advantage with Magdalena Fernandez converting from open play.

Kelsey Smith gave the Kiwis a glimmer of hope when she went on a run into the circle and beat the 'keeper from a tight angle with two minutes remaining.

Black Sticks coach Mark Hager said it was a disappointing way to end the series, leaving him with plenty to work on ahead of the Commonwealth Games in April on the Gold Coast.

"Argentina dominated much of the game, especially in the first half and we didn't do a good job of containing them," he said.

"Some of our work in the one-on-one contests and defence was poor but Grace had a good game and made some very important saves to keep us in the game."

New Zealand lost the opening tests 4-0 and 3-1 before winning the third 3-2.

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