New Zealand, Korea, Canada and Argentina collect points on Day 1
Argentina’s “Los Leones” took the lead in pool B with a strong performance and a 3-0 win against Austria. Earlier at the Argentina Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires, Canada upset Spain 3-2. On Thursday, Canada will play Austria with Olympic champions Germany facing Spain.
New Zealand are on top of pool A following a 4-1 win against Egypt in the opening game. Korea are second thanks to their 4-2 victory over Asian rivals Japan. On Thursday, the Black Sticks will face Japan with Egypt taking on the current Olympic and World Cup Silver medallists, the Netherlands.
Match 1: New Zealand v Egypt 4-1 (1-0)
New Zealand’s Black Sticks started their Argentina Hockey World League Semi-Final affair in Buenos Aires with a 4-1 win over Egypt thanks to goals from Kane Russell, Simon Child, Hugo Inglis and Nick Haig. It was New Zealand’s first win over Egypt. “I played them once in Malaysia in 2009 and it was a 2-2 draw,” remembers Andy Hayward.
Egypt, the current world number 20, kept the match open well into the second quarter, allowing New Zealand just one promising opportunity. Kane Russell (27’) eventually took the lead for the world’s number 7 when he converted the first penalty corner opportunity. Simon Child (41’) doubled the lead with a beautiful backhand-stroke before Hugo Inglis (42’) tipped the ball in to extend the lead to 3-0.
Egypt scored a consolation goal through Mahmoud Mandouh (57’) causing great celebration as he tipped in an Ahmed Elnaggar strike. However, Nick Haig (60’) converted a penalty corner with 18 seconds remaining to secure the Kiwis a 4-1 win.
Match 2: Korea v Japan 4-2 (0-0)
Four goals in the last quarter were enough for Korea to seal their first victory at the Argentina Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires. Lee Namyong’s double-strike (47’/50’) and goals from Jang Jonghyun (48’) and Hyun Hyesung (53’) secured a fine 4-2 win over Japan who had given away a 2-0 lead.
Earlier, against the run of play, Japan had scored first. Kenji Kitazato’s (37’) penalty corner attempt found its way into the goal to put the Samurais ahead. Hiroki Sakamoto (40’) further upset the Asian rivals when he pushed a penalty corner rebound over the line.
Match 3: Spain v Canada 2-3 (0-1)
Canada upset Spain in the opening match of pool B by winning 3-2. Gordon Johnston, James Kirkpatrick and Devohn Noronha Teixiera were the goal-scoring heroes in this key encounter towards the quarter-final qualification.
The Canadians made the better start to the contest, with Gordon Johnston netting with a drag-flick after 6 minutes. James Kirkpatrick (39’) doubled Canada’s lead in the third quarter before Spain struck back with a beautiful penalty corner goal from Mario Fernandez (43’).
However, it took Canada just one minute to get the scoreboard ticking again. Devohn Noronha Teixiera (44’) scored after a terrific solo run to extend the lead to 3-1. The end was hectic as Albert Beltran (52’) pulled one back for Spain after a video referral. The Red Sticks threw everything into the match in search of an equaliser in the last minutes but the Maple Leafs managed to secure the victory.
Match 4: Argentina v Austria 3-0 (1-0)
Argentina walked away with a 3-0 win over Austria in their first match to top pool B at the Argentina Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires. Ignacio Ortiz, Lucas Vila and Nicolas Della Torre scored the goals in the final encounter of day one.
Austria were defending well throughout the match, keeping their more experiences opponents down to very few chances. Ignacio Ortiz (22’) marked the opening goal through a penalty corner. The Austrians kept Argentina from scoring more goals until Lucas Vila (45’) converted the rebound of a Gonzalo Peillot penalty corner flick.
"Los Leones” produced a few more promising opportunities towards the end of the fourth quarter but Austria goalie Mateusz Szymczyk saved the efforts. Nicolas Della Torre defeated the Austrian goalie with one minute remaining to seal the 3-0 victory.
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