The opening day of the FIH Hockey Pro League action from Hobart saw Australia take on Argentina in the women’s and men’s competition. The women’s match was played first with the home team winning 2-0 thanks to goals by Hannah Cullum-Sanders and Renee Taylor and some excellent defending by Penny Squibb. In the men’s match the Kookaburras seemed to be coasting to a comfortable win thanks to a Jeremy Hayward brace, but two goals in the final quarter brought Argentina level and they won the bonus point in the shoot-outs thanks to heroics of goalkeeper Emiliano Bosso.
Women’s - Australia vs Argentina 2-0
Australia took an early lead in the game, taking a free hit quickly through Grace Stewart on the right side of the circle, having won it by pressing Argentina high in their own half. Hannah Cullum-Sanders got ahead of Eugenia Trinchinetti, who was marking her, and deflected a shot to the far post. Argentina won their first penalty corner in the final minute of the first quarter but Gorzelany’s attempted flick was well run down by Stewart. Australia started the second quarter on the front foot once again and doubled their lead with their third penalty corner of the game, through a powerful Renee Taylor drag flick. Australia faced heavy pressure on their goal, especially after receiving two green cards in the final four minutes of the half, but defended brilliantly and took a 2 goal lead into the half.
Argentina mounted heavy pressure on the Australian goal one again in search for a route back into the game. They registered two big chances, the first falling to Trinchinetti as she pounced on a missed trap by the Australian defence. She broke into the circle from the right and took a shot on with no pressure, but it was saved well by Australian keeper Aleisha Powers. The second chance came from the left as a lifted shot by Julie Jankunas managed to beat Powers but went just off the target. With 7 minutes left in the game Argentina won a penalty corner, their first of the second half, but their variation was a whisker away from hitting the target, but went just wide to the right. Penny Squibb made a goal line save in the final minute from a penalty corner as Australian defence preserved its clean sheet and took all 3 points.
Penny Squibb who was outstanding in the Hockeyroos defence throughout, was awarded player of the match and said: “Argentina are a tough team to beat but we took our chances and our defence played a great game. It’s a great way to start the mini-tournament at home and we look forward to the next game against the USA.”
Men’s - Australia vs Argentina 2-2 (SO 2-4)
Australia were dominant in the first quarter and produced the best chance early in the game as Lachlan Sharp broke into the circle and got a tomahawk shot away from the left, but it was saved by keeper Emiliano Bosso. Argentina defended well but Australia got on the board in the final minute of the opening quarter, with captain Jeremy Hayward depositing a powerful drag flick across the goalkeeper into the bottom right corner. Australia doubled their lead midway through the second quarter with Hayward soring a repeat of his first goal, with a powerful drag flick low to the right side of the goal. Argentina failed to pose a real threat on the Kookaburras goal in the opening half as the hosts went into the break up 2-0.
Argentina were much better going forward in the second half and managed to penetrate the Australian circle on multiple occasions. They won their first penalty corner of the game in the 40th minute and came close to pulling a goal back as Maico Casella’s drag flick managed to beat the keeper but hit the crossbar and went out of play. Argentina won their second penalty corner of the game early in the 4th quarter and finally got their goal as Casella’s flick was stopped by the first rusher, but fell to Maitas Rey and his vicious hit deflected off the keeper’s glove and buried into the roof of the net. Argentina were level with 5 minutes left in the game as a poor pass in the defence allowed Tobias Martins to pounce and his shot from the right beat the keeper, hit the far post and went in. With neither team finding a winner, the teams headed for a shoot-out. Emiliano Bosso starred in goal for Argentina as he stopped the first two attempts by Blake Govers and Jake Harvie to give Argentina the win in the shoot-outs and the bonus point.
Agustin Bugallo was awarded player of the match and said: “It was a good win. We found it challenging in the first half but got into the game in the second half. We will get some rest tomorrow and prepare for the game against Spain on Thursday.”
FIH Pro League – 28 February 2023
Tasmania Hockey Center, Hobart (AUS)
Result: Women’s Match 25
Australia 2-0 Argentina
Player of the Game: Penny Squibb (AUS)
Umpires: Cookie Tan (SGP), Rachel Williams (ENG), Raghu Prasad (IND-video)
Result: Men’s Match 19
Australia 2-2 Argentina (SO: 2-4)
Player of the Game: Agustin Bugallo (ARG)
Umpires: Raghu Prasad (IND), Javed Sheikh (IND), Rachel Williams (ENG-video)