Johannesburg - The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team lost the fifth and final test against Argentina 4-1 on Friday.
According to the supersport.com website, SA were disappointing in the first half, and went into the break 2-0 down against the World Cup champions.
But much-improved passages of play after the changeover resulted in SA fighting back to 2-1 before a strong finish and some interesting umpiring decisions saw Las Leonas home.
Argentina, ranked second in the world, won the series 5-0.
After weathering an early second-half assault as Argentina went in search of a three-goal advantage, captain Sulette Damons’ SA side began connecting and the tourists pulled one back when the skipper cracked a pass towards the never-say-die Bernie Coston, whose deflection effected a fine save from replacement keeper Florencia Mutio and the alert Celia Evans was perfectly placed to volley home the rebound (2-1).
Then Jade Mayne fired a ball into the strike zone and Dirkie Chamberlain’s deflection from close brought out a stunning reflex save by Mutio - arguably the save of the series.
The reprieve seemed to signal retaliatory action, and Argentina poured forward, resulting in a very exciting game - albeit rather loose for the purists.
Delfina Merino popped in a PC rebound for 3-1 in the 61st minute and a Noel Barrionuevo PC in the 67th minute made the final score 4-1.
There was not much joy for SA in the opening stanza, Barrionuevo opening the scoring in the ninth minute from Argentina’s second penalty corner.
In the 17th it was the turn of eight-time World Player of the Year Luciana Aymar to break from outside the attacking third of the pitch and scythe into the strike zone from the left channel in inimitable fashion before slamming her shot into the backboard for 2-0.
While the South Africans had their moments up front in the first half, too often the final pass did not find its target.
SA keeper Anelle van Deventer made a number of very good saves in the match to keep SA in the game.
Before the match, Western Province’s Quanita Bobbs was honoured for her 50th test appearance, while Josefina Sruoga of Las Leonas celebrated her 150th match.