|July 29th, 2012|
|4||Pool B||4:00pm||ARG - RSA||7 - 1 (5 - 1)||Final||x 5|
Argentina blew South Africa away in the first half to get their Olympic campaign off to a breathtaking start at a soaked Riverbank Arena in front of a crowd of over 12,500.
They ran up a 5-1 lead by the interval as the inter-changing lines of the likes of Daniela Sruoga, Delfina Merino and Carla Rebecchi was too hot to handle. Luciana Aymar was pulling the strings and it saw them run up a string of penalty corners. For the most part, Sulette Damons was doing a brilliant job to shut down Noel Barriosnuevo’s first phase efforts.
But the rebounds fell kindly as, first, Aymar provided a neat dink before smashing home the third corner in the eighth minute, her 129th international effort. Josefina Sruoga finished off the next after the ball got caught in Mariette Rix’s pads and she pounced to snap up from close range.
South Africa did get one back a minute later, again an Argentinean corner proving the route. This time, however, Rix saved well and her side produced a full-length counter. Shelly Russell worked the ball to Jennifer Wilson who picked a delightful cross for Dirkie Chamberlain to slide onto and score the pick of today’s goal to date.
But Argentina were insatiable up front and there proved to be scant respite from the intense preesure. Martina Cavallero restored the two-goal advantage as Daniela Sruoga jinked through the circle. From corner number six, Aymar notched her second, again a rebound while Carla Rebecchi picked off a peach of a reverse – Aymar the provider for 5-1 at the break.
The second half proved a more sedate affair with Argentina sitting deeper, conserving energy while South Africa endeavoured to push on but could not break through. Noel Barrionuevo’s neatly worked corner-switch extended the margin to 6-1 with nine minutes to go while Silvina D’Elia’s unpressurised hit from her side’s ninth corner completed the rout late on.(Stephen Findlater)
Marsha Marescia (RSA), on her team's performance: "(It was) very disappointing. We always knew that we were probably going to lose this game, but we thought that we would have kept the scoreline a lot lower. But it is what it is, and it's the opening game. They are number two in the world and we are number 12. We've got other games we need to focus on now.
"I think if we had just kept them out - especially in our penalty corners, because that's where they scored most of their goals - then it would have been a different game."
Carlos Retegui (ARG - coach) on how his side fared: "We started (the tournament) with a very difficult game with lots of tension. I think we played very well, we were relaxed, and we were effective. Three points, that's what we wanted."
"We tried to maintain the intensity throughout the whole match and I think the players did that very well. South Africa are a team that you have to be very careful of, but now with the win we are very calm."