New Zealand’s men’s team earned a dramatic victory over Olympic champions Argentina at the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Pro League in Christchurch, although their women’s side suffered a shoot-out defeat to the same opponents.
The men’s match saw New Zealand take the lead three times at Nga Puna Wai Hockey Stadium, only to be pegged back on each occasion.
Sam Lane, Dylan Thomas and Jared Panchia had each put the hosts ahead, only for Maico Casella and a brace from Jose Tolini to keep the Olympic champions in contention.
The scores remained level until the final 10 minutes of the contest, when New Zealand took the lead for the fourth time.
A goal from a penalty corner from Cory Bennett saw them edge 4-3 ahead, before a strike from Dominic Newman gave the New Zealand team a crucial cushion five minutes from the end.
Argentina were unable to mount a late fightback as New Zealand sealed a 5-3 victory.
The result gave New Zealand back-to-back wins in the FIH Pro League, following a triumph against Spain earlier this month.
They now lie fifth in the nine-team standings having played seven matches.
Argentina, who have played five ties, occupy eighth place with only one win to their name to date.
The women’s match featured a clash between the second- and third-placed teams in the standings, with Argentina having an opportunity to leapfrog their hosts.
New Zealand took the lead through Hope Ralph in the second quarter of the match, but a deflected effort from Agustina Albertario levelled the score at 1-1.
A shoot-out was needed to settle the contest, with Julieta Jankunas, Victoria Miranda and Priscilla Jardel all scoring to give Argentina a 3-1 victory.
The result lifts Argentina to second place in the standings after five matches, with New Zealand dropping to third.
The Netherlands lead the standings after four wins and one defeat from their matches.
Argentina and New Zealand will meet again on Sunday (March 1) in Christchurch.