Just when it looked like eight-time World Player of the Year Luciana Aymar was running away with the show, the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team struck twice in stunning fashion to leave the second Test standing at 2-2 on the half-time whistle on Sunday night, but four goals in the second half steered the South Americans to a 6-2 victory.
Aymar, captain of world number two Argentina – the reigning World Cup champions – sliced through her favourite left channel in inimitable fashion in the ninth and 11th minutes to set up straightforward tap-ins for Carla Rebecchi and Agustina Albertario.
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Trailing 2-0 inside the quarter-hour with Aymar in irresistible form, SA fought their way back with a brace of superb goals by Tanya Britz in the 16th and 18th minutes, captain Sulette Damons and fellow striker Lilian du Plessis making the vital passes.
SA had their chances after the break but it was Argentina who turned theirs into goals.
Just after half-time (39th minute) Noel Barrionuevo sent a low drag-flick from Argentina’s fifth penalty corner into the goals; then Delfina Moreno’s brilliant ball control in the 59th and Rebecchi’s top finish hard a minute later (60th) gave the South Americans a three-goal cushion over world number 11 South Africa.
And in the 62nd minute Daniela Sruoga followed up Argentina’s eighth PC to make the final score 6-2.
SA goalkeeper Phume Mbande made a host of fine saves – this shot stopper is growing in leaps and bounds – while Shelley Russell, back for this Test along with Jade Mayne, must be wondering what she has to do to convince the officials that she has earned penalty corner decisions.
Argentina won the first Test 6-1 on Saturday night. A Rest Day follows the second Test on Monday, and the third Test is at 1.40am (SA time) on Wednesday morning.
Test Matches (SA times): 23 Feb 01:40am: Argentina 6-1 (3-1) Investec South Africa 24 Feb 01:40am: Argentina vs Investec South Africa 25 Feb: Rest Day 26 Feb 01:40am: Argentina vs Investec South Africa 27 Feb: Rest Day 28 Feb 01:40am: Argentina vs Investec South Africa 29 Feb 01:40am: Argentina vs Investec South Africa Las Leonas Squad: Luciana Aymar Laura Aladro Agustina Albertario Noel Barrionuevo Martina Cavallero Silvina D’elia Julia Gomes Fantasia Agustina Habif Florencia Habif Giselle Juarez Rosario Luchetti Delfina Merino Florencia Mutio Carla Rebecchi Macarena Rodriguez Pilar Romang Mariana Rossi Rocio Sanchez Mariela Scarone Daniela Sruoga Josefina Sruoga Belen Succi Investec South Africa: Phumelela Mbande Anelle van Deventer Lisa Deetlefs Marcelle Manson Quanita Bobbs Nicolene Terblanche Marsha Cox Shelley Russell Tarryn Bright Bernie Coston Kathleen Taylor Illse Davids Jade Mayne Dirkie Chamberlain Lilian du Plessis Celia Evans Tanya Britz Sulette Damons Candice Manuel Kelly Madsen
Main photo caption: Investec SA launch another attack on the world no. 2 Las Leonas of Argentina. South Africa came from two goals down to go into half-time 2-all with the five-Test hosts, only to concede four unanswered goals in the second half to lose the second fixture 6-2. Photo: Supplied
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