TOUGH START TO EURO TOUR FOR VBS MEN
The Vantage Black Sticks men were outclassed in Antwerp overnight as they went down 1-6 to Argentina. New Zealand failed to capitalise on their opportunities and found themselves wanting on counter-attack defence.
In the first quarter, the Black Sticks set a strong pace with early pressure that led to a penalty corner (PC) for New Zealand. This initial momentum was punctuated by a goal converted by Kane Russell.
However, Argentina responded in kind, gradually gaining dominance, winning and converting a penalty corner of their own.
The match evolved into a back-and-forth affair, with Argentina having more territory, albeit neither team significantly capitalising on their possession.
Towards the end of the quarter, New Zealand’s Sean Findlay was green-carded, and Argentina swiftly seized the opportunity, scoring a well-worked deflection goal past goalkeeper Leon Hayward.
The second quarter began with Argentina taking advantage of New Zealand being a man down, repeatedly earning penalty corners. New Zealand displayed resilience in soaking up the pressure, with an overall solid performance in the quarter.
The third quarter was marked by controversy as a penalty corner resulted in a goal for Argentina where it seemed clear that New Zealand’s Hayden Phillips was pushed.
Again, Argentina dominated the territory, but the Black Sticks made inroads late in the quarter, signalling a potential shift in the match’s momentum.
However, it wasn’t to be as Argentina struck twice with another penalty corner goal and a successful counter-attack field goal.
A rare moment of celebration for New Zealand was dismissed when a goal by Sam Lane was disallowed for being hit off the back of the stick. Argentina, sensing an opportunity, hit back swiftly on a counter-attack and scored their sixth.
The Vantage Black Sticks men next take on Belgium on Monday 2.40am NZT. The women open their European campaign 12.10am tomorrow also against Argentina.
- June 16th, 2023 in