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Hockey World League Final: Spain stun Olympic champion Argentina 2-1

BHUBANESWAR: In the space of three days, Spain got the scalp of another top-ranked team at the Hockey World League Final when they edged past Olympic Champion Argentina 2-1 on Tuesday. After falling behind in the first half by a goal, they scored twice in the final 10 minutes to finish the pool stage with two wins and a defeat.

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On paper, it was world’s top-ranked team meeting no 7. But on current form, Spain was the team with a win under their belt while Argentina still winless at the Hockey World League Final. Spain enjoyed a staggering 73% possession in the first half. However, in the beginning the two teams were involved in tight tussle with each vying to hold the Ball but Spain’s influence grew as the play progressed. They made few runs with intent but the Argentine defence was alert.

To their credit, Argentina, scrambling for the ball as during the first two quarters, nearly matched Spain in circle entries. Against the run of play, they then produced a moment of brilliance with Lucas Vila winning the ball in the opponent half and jinking it to his captain Matias Pardes who with a lovely touch sent the ball rolling inside the cage. Argentina had converted a half-chance to go 1-0 up in the second quarter.

After the change of ends, Spain, who had stunned Netherlands in their tournament opener, pressed hard and pushed Argentina deep. Soon, they won the first penalty corner of the match in the third quarter but the trap wasn’t clean and the attempt afterwards amounted to nothing.

They soon got another chance to bring parity when a second penalty corner came their way. The veteran Pau Quemada slung a powerful low shot with the ball almost kissing the turf and whizzing past the rushers and the diving goalkeeper into the cage. With 10 minutes remaining, Spain were back in the game. It was to be their evening as in the closing stages, they got the rub of the green when they were awarded a penalty stroke after the ball hitting the leg of the last Argentine defender on the goalline during a penalty corner. No. 23 Josep Romeu made no mistake as he crashed the ball inside the goal to make it 2-1 in the 59th minute.

Source : timesofindia

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Hockey World League Final: Spain stun Olympic champion Argentina 2-1


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