Manuel Brunet of Argentina is closed down by two New Zealand players during their World Cup Group B match at The Hague on Friday. Argentina won 3-1. - EPA
THE HAGUE: Argentina penalty corner drag flicker Gonzalo Pelliat single-handedly destroyed New Zealand in a crucial Group B match at the Kyocera Stadium at The Hague.
Pelliat struck a second-half penalty corner hat-trick to help Argentina down New Zealand 3-1 for their second win in three matches.
Although New Zealand went into Friday’s match as group leaders, the Pan American champions, who stunned Germany 1-0 on Tuesday, had other ideas.
After a goalless first half, the game came alive with both sides going at it earnestly.
Argentina earned their first penalty corner in the 44th minute and Pelliat was on target.
The Kiwis hit back five minutes later through a deflected goal by Stephen Jenness.
But Pelliat had the last say – finding the target with the next two penalty corners in the 51st and 63rd minutes for a 100% conversion rate.
The win puts Argentina level on points with both New Zealand and hosts Holland at six, but are placed third due to inferior goal difference. The Kiwis still top the group on better goal difference with Holland yet to play Germany in the later match at posting time.