Argentina’s women claimed all three points against Great Britain before the hosts registered a bonus point after the men’s match ended 1-1 in Match Day 4 of FIH Pro League action in Santiago del Estero
In the women’s match, Argentina broke through for their first win of this campaign, edging out a gallant Great Britain 2-1 thanks to goals from Agustina Gorzelany and Eugenia Trinchinetti.
Jacob Draper’s first Great Britain goal was cancelled out by Lucas Martinez in a titanic tussle in the men’s match, with the hosts holding their nerve to win the shootout 4-1 and take the extra point.
(Women’s) Argentina v Great Britain 2-1
With both teams searching for their first victory and looking to pick themselves off the canvas after defeats to the Netherlands, the first quarter was a willing affair.
Hannah French had an early chance for Great Britain but her well timed shot was denied by Argentinean goalkeeper Clara Barberi.
Then Argentina’s number 7, Agustino Albertarrio, had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring when she was superbly set up by Barbara Dichiara, however with the open goal beckoning Great Britain goalkeeper Sabbie Heesh made a tremendous save.
A long aerial ball from Gorzelany then unlocked the Great Britain defence again, Julieta Jankunas unable to effectively bring it under control to test Heesh.
Barberi was also being kept busy as she was forced to save from Sophie Hamilton on the reverse.
On the stroke of quarter time Great Britain were reduced to ten players for 10 minutes when Tessa Howard was shown a yellow card for a careless flailing stick that struck Gorzelany on the arm following a tackle.
The two players involved would then make a telling contribution to the contest.
With Howard still biding her time on the sideline, Argentina won a penalty corner. Heesh managed to get a stick to Gorzelany’s high drag flick but it had too much power behind it as the ball ended across the goal line to put the hosts in front in the 25th minute.
A committed Great Britain had the better of the third quarter and deservedly equalised in the 34th minute. Giselle Ansley’s drag flick took a deflection and crashed into the foot of Sofia Toccalino on the line leaving the umpire to award a penalty stroke.
Howard made amends for her earlier yellow card to convert from the spot, clinically sending her stroke into the top corner to make it 1-1.
Heesh saved another on target Gorzelany drag flick and was then alert to deny a shot from the impressive Agostina Alonso in the 40th minute as the home crowd urged their team on.
Argentina’s winner came two minutes into the final quarter through a brilliantly rehearsed penalty corner routine. Gorzelany rifled in a low drag flick, pinpointing it for a waiting Trinhincetti who had her outstretched stick at the ready to deflect the ball into the back of the net.
Heesh was removed with three minutes remaining as Great Britain’s desperation for an equaliser increased, however despite their best efforts they could not take the hosts to a shootout for a second straight time as Argentina took maximum points.
“I’m very happy because we got the three points. It was a really tough game…Great Britain made it really difficult for us but I’m happy that we made it through the game,” said Alonso who was named Player of the Match.
(Men’s) Argentina v Great Britain 1-1 (4-1)
Great Britain struck first in the 12th minute when a barnstorming Sam Ward down the left tomahawked the ball across the goal face. Struan Walker could not get a stick on it but Jacob Draper did at the far post to score his maiden GB goal to cue a mix of surprise and elation.
Argentina’s equaliser came with six minutes to go in the first half in unconventional but effective fashion. Agustin Mazzilli dazzled with some sublime skill along the baseline to eliminate three Great Britain defenders, bobbling the ball to Martinez who lobbed an effort that looped above the crossbar and somehow managed to drop and land over the goal line.
A lively Phil Roper almost broke the game open for Great Britain in the third quarter, first with a stinging tomahawk and then a drag flick, only to be denied both times by the in-form Tomas Santiago.
Walker also had a late chance in the third quarter but again Santiago was in the way.
Maico Casella had Great Britain goalkeeper James Mazarelo scrambling early in the last quarter, before excitement machine Lucas Toscani narrowly missed an early contender for goal of the season with six minutes left when he took the ball from the halfway line with an exhibition of 3D skills and explosiveness before thrashing a tomahawk that rattled the outside of the post.
Neither side could find a winner at full time before Argentina showed their class in the shootout. After both sides were successful with their first attempts, Santiago saved from Zac Wallace. Veteran Argentine Casella scored before Lee Moreton soared his attempt over the bar to leave Tobias Martins to step up and fire into the back of the net to give Argentina a 100 per cent record from the shootout and the bonus point.
“It was a very tough match for both sides today…we defended very hard today and at the end I think a draw was a fair result,” said Santiago who was named Player of the Match.
The penultimate match day of this FIH Pro League mini-tournament will see Great Britain take on the Netherlands.
To see the current standings in the FIH Hockey Pro League, click here.
FIH Pro League – 9 December 2023
Santiago del Estero (ARG)
Result: Women’s Match 4
Argentina 2-1 Great Britain
Player of the Match: Agostina Alonso (ARG)
Umpires: Ayanna McClean (TTO), Irene Presenqui (ARG), German Montes de Oca (ARG-video)
Result: Men’s Match 4
Argentina 1-1 (4-1) Great Britain
Player of the Match: Tomas Santiago (ARG)
Umpires: Gabriel Labate (ARG), Federico Silva (ARG), German Montes de Oca (ARG-video)