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Netherlands women suffer first defeat at the hands of Las Leonas

BALBIR SINGH | February 17, 2020 11:47 AM

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA):Argentina’s women claimed a stunning 2-0 victory over reigning World, European and Pro League champions the Netherlands in one of four FIH Hockey Pro League matches to take place in recent hours. There were also positive results for the Netherlands men and the national teams of New Zealand, reports FIH.
On Saturday evening at Cenard in Buenos Aires, Olympic champions Argentina men twice fought back from a goal down to secure a 2-2 draw against the Netherlands, but it was the Dutch who prevailed in the shoot-out, producing a clinical display to claim the bonus point. The result sees the Dutch climb up to second in the FIH Hockey Pro League standings, moving ahead of India but still some five points behind league leaders Belgium.
A frenetic, error-strewn first quarter saw the Dutch take the lead thanks to a close range finish from Mirco Pruijser, only for Lucas Martinez to pull Argentina level before Billy Bakker instantly re-established the lead for the Netherlands. Argentina eventually tied the match in the fourth quarter when Jose Tolini arrowed a penalty corner drag-flick into the roof of the Dutch net. However, the Netherlands were excellent in the shoot-out, with Jeroen Hertzberger, Glenn Schuurman and Jonas de Geus on target as Argentines Nicolas Keenan, Martin Ferreiro and Agustin Mazzilli faltered.
"I think we dominated the first half and the third quarter", said Netherlands striker Mirco Pruijser, who was named Player of the Match. "We had the chance for 3-1 or 4-1, but they scored to make it 2-2 and then you see the shoot-outs, and I'm very happy that we won them. I think we played a very good match, in the end a draw, but for tomorrow I think we need to fight harder."
In the second match in Buenos Aires on Saturday evening, Argentina women claimed a stunning 2-0 victory over reigning World, European and Pro League champions the Netherlands. It was a third win in three games for Las Leonas, leaving them three points behind a Dutch team that they will face again on Sunday evening.

The host nation produced a superb defensive display to keep the world number one ranked team off the scoreboard throughout the contest, whilst registering goals of their own in the third and fourth quarters of the match. Agustina Gorzelany scored a wonderful penalty corner drag-flick in the 35th minute, sending her unstoppable effort into the top right corner. The points were wrapped up in the final minutes of the match by Delfina Merino, who finished off a fine passing move by smashing a backhand strike into an open goal shortly after the Netherlands replaced their goalkeeper with an outfield player in an effort to salvage the game.
Speaking in the post-match interview, Player of the Match Agustina Albertarrio said: "It was a really tough game. I think we [plyed] a good game and we won it, so we are very happy and thinking about tomorrow."
In Christchurch, New Zealand’s women worked their way past a determined USA team for a 3-1 victory and back to back wins for the first time in the 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League. New Zealand captain Stacey Michelsen produced a Player of the Match performance, being instrumental in two of the New Zealand goals and was a constant threat throughout.
Olivia Merry put the Black Sticks ahead in the 16th minute with Michelsen doubling the lead mid-way through the third quarter. Danielle Grega pulled a goal back for USA early in the fourth quarter before Alia Jaques sealed a New Zealand win that moves the Black Sticks up to second in the Pro League standings.
A victory for the Black Sticks men over Spain ensured it was a day of double celebration for New Zealand’s national teams, with a 3-2 win over the Red Sticks being their first ever FIH Hockey Pro League win in regular time.

The hosts established a 2-0 lead thanks to strikes from Kane Russell and Steve Edwards before Alvaro Iglesias reduced Spain’s deficit ahead of the fourth and final quarter. However, a second goal for Player of the Match Kane Russell arrived with four minutes of the match remaining and proved decisive, with Pau Quemada netting what proved to be a consolation effort in the final minute. The result sees New Zealand climb off the bottom of the table, moving ahead of Argentina into eighth place, with Spain in fourth position.
The FIH Hockey Pro League continues later today as the national teams of Argentina and the Netherlands play their respective second matches in Buenos Aires.

FIH Hockey Pro League
Saturday 15 February 2020 (Evening session)

CENARD - Buenos Aires (ARG)

Men’s result: Argentina 2, Netherlands 2 – Netherlands win 3-2 in shoot-out (Match 1 of 2)
Player of the Match: Mirco Pruijser (NED)
Umpires: Steve Rogers (AUS), Jakub Mejzlik (CZE) & Michelle Meister
Women’s result: Argentina 2, Netherlands 0 (Match 1 of 2)
Player of the Match: Agustina Albertarrio (ARG)
Umpires: Michelle Meister (GER), Maggie Giddens (USA) & Jakub Mejzlik
Sunday 16 February
Nga Puna Wai Hockey Stadium - Christchurch (NZL)

Women’s result: New Zealand 3, USA 1 (Match 2 of 2)
Player of the Match: Stacey Michelsen (NZL)
Umpires: Annelize Rostron (RSA), Junko Wagatsuma (JPN) & Adam Kearns
Men’s result: New Zealand 3, Spain 2 (Match 2 of 2)
Player of the Match: Kane Russell (NZL)
Umpires: Javed Shaikh (IND), Adam Kearns (AUS) & Junko Wagatsuma

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