The final day of action from Hobart in the FIH Hockey Pro League saw Los Leones notch their second win of the season, ending Spain’s 3-game winning streak and handing them their first outright loss of the campaign, thanks to a final quarter goal by Maico Casella in a closely contested encounter. In the women’s match, Las Leonas extended their win streak to 3 matches, getting the better of USA in a 3-0 win, thanks to a brace by Maria Granatto, with Delfina Thome adding a third.
Men’s - Spain vs Argentina 0-1
Spain and Argentina played a slow first half with neither team creating a great scoring opportunity. Most of the game was played in the midfield as both teams failed to dominate the opposition’s territory. The best scoring chances for both sides came via penalty corners from the first quarter. Casella took on the penalty corner for Argentina but Iglesias rushed his shot down well and deflected it wide. For Spain it was Marc Miralles who took on the flick, but his low attempt was dragged just wide to the left of the goal as the teams headed into the break at 0-0.
Both teams continued to struggle in attack in the third quarter. José Basterra was the best player for Spain, frequently breaking up Argentina attacks in the midfield and launching counter attacks. He nearly won a penalty corner in the final minutes of the quarter as his shot from the left of the circle forced a save from Hernando that lifted high in the circle and was deemed dangerous, but Argentina referred the decision and it was overturned as the shot from Basterra was going off target. The final quarter saw multiple tough tackles fly in and plenty of cards flashed. The most crucial one was a yellow card given to Borja Lacalle with little over 5 minutes left in the game, which gave Argentina a player advantage for most of the remainder of the game. They earned an immediate penalty corner but Casella’s shot was well saved by Adrian Rafi. Ferreiro got to the rebound and his 3d skills down the left baseline drew a stick tackle by Marc Reyne and won Argentina a penalty stroke, which was scored by Casella, earning the win and all 3 points.
Martin Ferreiro was awarded player of the match and said: “It was a really tough game so we are very happy to get a win at the end of it. Spain and Australia are tough opponents, so 5 points from 4 games is very decent against two higher ranked teams.”
Women’s - USA vs Argentina 0-3
Argentina mounted heavy pressure on the USA circle in the first quarter but the American’s deep defence, which has been stellar all season, once again held strong not allowing Leonas to convert their dominance into a shot on target. Argentina won the first penalty corner of the game early in the second quarter as Majo Granatto found Sholder’s foot in the circle with some exquisite dribbling. Gorzelany took on the drag flick which went low to the left and Granatto deflected it, lifting it above Bing and into the goal, to open the scoring for Las Leonas. Argentina nearly doubled their lead with 5 minutes left in the game as Lucina von der Heyde’s drag flick managed to beat Bing but Hoffman was on the line to clear what looked to be a certain goal.
Argentina scored their second goal of the game thanks to some excellent work by Toccalino, who dribbled past three USA defenders at the top of the circle and found Delfina Thome on the right, who received the ball with Bing on her back, spun around to her left and finished past Bing to double the Leonas’ lead. Maria Granatto scored her second and Argentina’s third goal in the final quarter as she broke in from the left side of the circle once again and sent a ball towards the direction of Jankunas on the far post, but it was deflected into the goal by Hollamon, was was trying to cut the pass before it could get to Jankunas. The final score remained 3-0, same as the result in the first meeting between the two sides.
Sofia Toccalino was awarded player of the match and said: “Overall a good mini-tournament for us, taking 3 wins in 4 matches. My work is primarily in defence and midfield but I am happy to assist a goal in attack as well today.”
FIH Pro League – 5 March 2023
Tasmania Hockey Center, Hobart (AUS)
Result: Men’s Match 24
Spain 0-1 Argentina
Player of the Game: Martin Ferreiro (ARG)
Umpires: Raghu Prasad (IND), Javed Sheikh (IND), Cookie Tan (SGP-video)
Result: Women’s Match 30
USA 0-3 Argentina
Player of the Game: Sofia Toccalino (ARG)
Umpires: Cookie Tan (SGP), Rachel Williams (ENG), Javed Sheikh (IND-video)