The Football Ferns’ miserable run of form has continued with a 2-0 loss to Argentina at Hamilton’s FMG Stadium Waikato.
The loss extends New Zealand’s winless run to seven games, during which the side has conceded 18 goals and scored just once.
Main photo: coach Jitka Klimková rallies her players at the final whistle.
In this latest game, the side battled well in the first half but were outplayed badly in the second spell.
By full-time, Argentine had managed 17 shots compared to New Zealand’s five.
Ferns coach Jitka Klimková made five changes to the starting side that lost 5-0 to Portugal, with captain Ali Riley and CJ Bott left out of the squad altogether due to minor injuries.
Defenders Claudia Benge and Kate Taylor, and midfielder Malia Steinmetz, went to the bench, while Olivia Chance was named captain for the match.
From the start, Argentina showed they planned to press the Ferns high up the pitch and apply pressure.
Once the game settled down, the teams were sharing possession and looking for opportunities.
New Zealand’s first goal attempt came in the 13th minute when striker Hannah Wilkinson struck a half-hit shot at the ‘keeper.
In the 18th minute, Argentina went ahead when a ball was played into the New Zealand box and defender Katie Bowen attempted to shield it from forward Larroquette who was challenging from behind.
As Bowen tried to turn the ball away, it rebounded off Mariana Larroquette’s boot and went into the net.
New Zealand’s best chance of the half came in the 33rd minute when Betsy Hassett weaved through three defenders on the left flank before releasing a low cross. Wilkinson deftly laid off the ball to Chance who shot but Argentina ‘keeper Vanina Correa blocked it with her foot.
By half-time the stats showed the game was even.
(New Zealand / Argentina)
Shots: 4 / 7
Shots on target: 2 /1
Possession: 49% / 51%
Passes: 251 / 249
Pass accuracy: 77% / 77%
Fouls: 8 / 1
Yellow cards: 1 / 0
Offsides: 0 / 2
Corners: 1 / 0
Ten minutes after the restart, New Zealand had the ball in the net when Chance got on the end of a cross ball and rifled it inside the far post.
But as the New Zealanders celebrated, the assistant referee was signalling offside, a decision confirmed to be right by the VAR officials.
In the 62nd minute, Hamilton-raised Michaela Foster made her full international debut, to the delight of the 3,622 crowd.
She replaced Liz Anton who had been playing on a yellow card since the 27th minute.
Klimková worked her bench, again using Paige Satchell as her impact player up front.
Argentina almost went 2-0 up with eight minutes left when Florencia Bonsegundo burst through and shot, forcing Ferns ‘keeper Erin Nayler to turn it away for a corner.
As time started to run out, Argentina were able to keep the Ferns pinned down in their own territory, and the Kiwis were forced to defend a series of corners.
In the final minute, the South Americans provided the killer blow, when defender Aidana Cometti outmuscled her markers to powerfully head home from a corner.
Ferns captain Chance found the energy for one long-range shot that lacked power.
After eight minutes of added time, referee Lara Lee called an end to the game, to the delight of the singing, dancing supporters waving blue and white flags.
For the New Zealand contingent, the soul-searching will continue …
Full match statistics
(New Zealand / Argentina)
Shots: 5 /17
Shots on target: 2 / 8
Possession: 42% / 58%
Passes: 375 / 504
Pass accuracy: 73% / 78%
Fouls: 15 / 3
Yellow cards: 2 /1
Red cards: 0 / 0
Offsides: 1 /3
Corners: 2 / 9
Game played on Monday February 20, 2023
New Zealand 0
Argentina 2 (Mariana Larroquette 17′, Aidana Cometti 90′)
Erin Nayler, Meikayla Moore, Katie Bowen, Liz Anton (Michaela Foster 62′), Grace Neville (Mackenzie Barry 90+1′), Olivia Chance (captain), Betsy Hassett, Daisy Cleverley (Ava Collins 74′), Grace Jale, Gabi Rennie (Malia Steinmetz 46′), Hannah Wilkinson (Paige Satchell 74′).
Subs not used: Brianna Edwards, Murphy Sheaff, Kate Taylor, Claudia Bunge.
Head coach: Jitka Klimková.
Anton 27′, Bowen 69′
Vanina Correa (captain), Julieta Cruz, Aidana Cometti, Romina Nunez (Chiara Singarella 90+4′), Daiana Falfan, Paulina Gramaglia (Erica Lonigro, 70′), Yamila Rodriguez, Miriam Mayorga, Florencia Bonsegundo, Lorena Benitez (Maricel Pereyra 85′), Mariana Larroquette (Eliana Stabile 85′).
Subs not used: Laurina Oliveros, Vanesa Santana, Gabriela Chavez, Marianela Szmanowski, Estefania Banini.
Head coach: Francisco Neto.
Referee: Lara Lee (Queesland, Australia)
Assistant referee 1: Michelle O’Neill (Republic of Ireland)
Assistant referee 2: Franca Overtoom (Holland)
Fourth official: Kateryna Monzul (Ukraine)
VAR: Carole Anne Chenard (Canada)
Assistant VAR: Muhammad Bin Jahari (Singapore)
Game to be played on Thursday February 23, 2023
New Zealand v Argentina (friendly)
North Harbour Stadium, Auckland, 7pm
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