11 January 2014, New Delhi: Continuing on their fine form, Argentina recorded their 2nd win at the Hero Hockey World League Final in New Delhi, by defeating Belgium by 3-2 in their second Pool B game.
It was a matter of hockey pride when the Belgian Red Lions took on Los Leones from Argentina. The match see-sawed between the teams but Argentina emerged 3-2 winners and kept their unbeaten record in the tournament while Belgium suffered their second defeat.
Argentina, who upset the Netherlands in yesterday’s opening match, also started off well in today’s encounter. Facundo Callioni won his Lions the first penalty corner of the match but they could not capitalize on it.
So it was up to Belgian Tom Boon (6’) to open the scoring when he smashed the ball into the far corner of the goal. The battle between the two Lion teams continued with the Pan American champions fighting for the equaliser which soon came courtesy of Pedro Ibarra (11’). On his run towards goal, Ibarra left five Belgium defenders behind to eventually defeat goalie Vincent Vanash with a skilful backhand stroke.
With less than two minutes remaining in the first half top-striker Boon (34’) made another mark when putting Belgium 2-1 ahead. This was his third goal in the competition making him the new tournament top scorer.
Argentina levelled the score to 2-2 in the middle of the second half when completely unmarked Matias Paredes (50’) latched onto the ball at the far post to deflect a long pass coming from Juan Martin Lopez into the goal.
Argentina held on to their attacking style taking the lead for the first time in the match when Callioni (61’) picked up a flick and managed to lift the ball over the Belgian keeper.
Speaking on the back to back win Argentina Coach Carlos Retegui said “it’s a happy moment for us to have defeated both Netherlands and Belgium. We hope to continue this winning streak in our next matches. The boys knew that this is an important match but they did not come under any pressure and kept their cool in the entire game”.
Speaking on the unexpected loss Belgium Coach Marc Lammers said “disappointing with our second consecutive loss today. For our next match we have to give our best performance to stay in contention. We have to work on our defence as that proved to be the gray area today. This is a young team but not short of confidence, we just have to start our winning streak. In the last 5 years hockey has improved in the country and I am sure Belgium will be a name to reckon with very soon in the world of Hockey”.