Action continued from the FIH Hockey Pro League 2022/23 mini-tournament in Hobart as Las Leonas put the loss to Hockeyroos behind them and earned a comfortable victory over USA in the first game, with Agustina Gorzelany, Sofia Cairo and Majo Granatto getting on the scoresheet. In the second game of the day Los Leones faced off against the table toppers Spain and the European team took all three points to increase their lead at the top of the Pro League table in a thrilling encounter, where they trailed by 2 goals early, but completed a remarkable comeback and won the game thanks to two goals by form man Marc Reyne and a last minute penalty stroke goal by captain Marc Miralles.
Women’s - Argentina vs USA 3-0
USA lived dangerously early in the game, frequently turning over possession in the midfield, but relied heavily on their deep defence to keep the score tied at the end of first quarter. Argentina had their chances, primarily through Majo Granatto, who had time and space to get a shot away from the centre of the circle early on, and later through a penalty corner variation that allowed Jankunas to attempt a deflection at the near post, but both were off target. Argentina opened the scoring early in the second quarter through a powerful high drag flick by Agustina Gorzelany. A few minutes later another turnover in the midfield by USA allowed Alonso to send a powerful slap pass into the circle which was deflected by Sofia Cairo right in front of Bing, sending the ball through her legs and into the goal.
USA started to emerge from their defensive shell in the third quarter, looking for a goal that would get them back in the game. Their best chance came from a long hit played from their own 16 that went through the entire field and found Saane Caarls behind the Argentine defence, with just the keeper to beat, but her attempt to round the keeper allowed the defence to come back and make a tackle. Argentina scored their third and the final goal of the game from a penalty corner. The injection by Jankunas was not cleanly trapped by Rocio Sanchez, but she pulled the ball back in control and sent a shot towards the far post of the goal, where she found Granatto who had a completely empty goal to tap the ball into.
Agostina Alonso was awarded player of the match and said: “It was important to get the win today after the loss in the opening fixture. We played with good intensity and thankfully got the goals today. Now we prepare for the tough game against Australia tomorrow.”
Men’s - Argentina vs Spain 3-4
Argentina and Spain battled hard in the opening quarter, both sides creating plenty of circle penetrations without finding clear chances to score. Argentina did finally manage to open the scoring towards the end of the first quarter from a penalty corner. Maico Casella, who has been one of the best players in the world since the turn of the year, sent a powerful low flick to his right, piercing the gap between the keeper and post defender to give Los Leones the lead. Casella doubled the Leones lead at the start of the second quarter with his tomahawk from the left of the circle deflecting in off a Spanish stick in front of the goal. Spain halved their deficit midway through second quarter with Bruno Font scoring his first international goal in his second cap for the Red Sticks, and Marc Reyne scored his third goal of the mini-tournament latching on to a cross by Font in front of the goal to bring the teams level.
Spain completed the comeback early in the second half as a quick counter started by Gispert was played to Gonzalez on the left. Gonzalez broke into the circle from the left baseline and played a pass across the face of the goal and Reyne was on hand to deflect in once again to give Spain the lead. Argentina pulled level in the fourth quarter as a ball into the circle from the top of the 25 by Marucci got a slight touch by Habif and headed towards the goal. Rafi stepped out to clear it, but Ferreiro stepped in front of him and got a deflection bringing Argentina level. Spain won a penalty stroke with just a minute left in the game and captain Marc Miralles stepped up and dispatched the stroke high to the right of Bosso, to give Spain the win and six points from their first two matches at the Hobart mini-tournament.
Marc Reyne was awarded player of the match and said: “Great win coming back from two goals down. We want to build a tough team that relies on great defence and we conceded two early but performed well after that. Getting goals personally is good but it’s all team effort, I am just applying finishing touches. We came here to beat the best teams in the world and that is what we are proving we can do.”
FIH Pro League – 2 March 2023
Tasmania Hockey Center, Hobart (AUS)
Result: Women’s Match 27
Argentina 3-0 USA
Player of the Game: Agostina Alonso (ARG)
Umpires: Cookie Tan (SGP), Rachel Williams (ENG), Javed Sheikh (IND-video)
Result: Men’s Match 21
Argentina 3-4 Spain
Player of the Game: Marc Reyne (ESP)
Umpires: Raghu Prasad (IND), David Tomlinson (NZL), Cookie Tan (SGP-video)