After three successive defeats Argentina finally tasted victory and picked up three points against New Zealand in the ongoing Hero Honda FIH Hockey World Cup on Sunday. Argentina, who were last team to qualify for this event, edged past New Zealand 1-0.
After a goalless first-half, Argentina’s Facundo Callioni scored the only goal of the match in the 55th minute of the game.
With the strikers of both sides failing to create any magic on the field, it was the goalkeepers guarding both the posts who generated some interest in the match for few hundred spectators present.
Argentina’s goalkeeper Tomas Juan Espinosa was too good for the Black Sticks and snatched a golden scoring opportunity away from them in the 28th minute. He dived to his right to save the penalty stroke taken by Priyesh Bhana, New Zealand’s Indian-origin player. Even after, Espinosa didn’t let the Black Sticks take any advantage of him.
Though New Zealand lost the tie by the slender margin of 0-1, their goal keeper Kyle Pontifex’s role drew praise. He made some brilliant saves and the only time he was beaten was in the 55th minute when an unchecked Callioni deflected a cross into the net with Pontifex was guarding the other end of the goal.
In the entire 70 minutes, New Zealand’s forward line could only create two penalty corners, had a handful of shots on goal and a penalty stroke, but none of their efforts registered on the scoreboard.
For Argentina’s strikers it was just creation of four short corners and a smattering of shots targeting the goal, and the only joy came from Callion’s 55th minute strike.