Jonathan Cook
1 minute read
24 Feb 2014
9:30 am

SA hockey women no match for rampant Argentina

Jonathan Cook

With eight-times World Player of the Year Luciana Aymar delivering a master-class in close control and intuitive running, world No 2 Argentina came back from a goal down to lead 3-1 at half-time before running out 6-1 winners against the Investec South Africa women's hockey team in the first of five Tests on Saturday night.

Illse Davids of Western Province drew high praise from the Scotland head coach during South Africa's five-Test series whitewash of the Scots in Pretoria. Picture: Lucas Jansen van Vuuren

SA took the lead in the 14th minute when livewire runner Bernie Coston had a hand in setting up her team’s first penalty corner. Lisa Deetlefs timed her disguised shot/pass to the right-hand post to perfection and Candice Manuel, coming in at an angle, deflected home.

But Argentina, the reigning World Cup champions and London 2012 Olympic Games silver medallists, came back strongly with fine field goals from Carla Rebecchi, Daniela Sruoga and Delfina Merino, leaving SA with much to do after the changeover.

The umpiring did not help South Africa’s cause, but the Argentinians were the better side and scored some very good goals. SA had their chances too, but it wasn’t their night.

Argentina’s goals after the changeover came from a powerful Noel Barrionuevo penalty corner, then a wonder goal by Delfina Merino – and Aymar deserved getting on the scoresheet with the final strike of the night.

SA had some very good moments but Argentina had the edge in finesse when it mattered, and South African keeper Phume Mbande made a number of outstanding saves from full-blooded shots on goal.