Second half costs SA women

Shelley Russell (Photo: Donald MacLeod)
Shelley Russell (Photo: Donald MacLeod)
Mar del Plata - Just when it looked like eight-time world Player of the Year Luciana Aymar was running away with the show, the South Africa women’s hockey team struck twice in stunning fashion to leave the second Test against Argentina in the balance on Sunday night but four goals in the second half steered the South Americans to a 6-2 victory.

Aymar, captain of world No 2 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.

Trailing 2-0 inside the first quarter-hour with Aymar in irresistible form, SA fought their way back with a brace of superb goals by Tanya Britz and captain Sulette Damons.

South Africa had their chances after the break but it was Argentina who turned theirs into goals.

Soon after half-time (39th minute) Noel Barrionuevo sent a low drag-flick from Argentina’s fifth penalty corner (PC) into the goal-box; then Delfina Moreno’s brilliant ball control in the 59th and Rebecchi’s top finish hardly a minute later (60th) gave the South Americans a three-goal cushion over world No 11 South Africa.

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.

The third Test is at 01:40 (SA time) on Tuesday.

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