A four day tournament started last Thursday on Mendoza, Argentina. The Torneo Argentino de Selecciones, the most important regional tournament in the country was played from Thursday through to Sunday.
The women’s side
In the women’s side, the hosts, Mendoza, finished first in its pool with 3 wins and that secured a spot for them on the semifinals. Mendoza beat Buenos Aires – the defending and five times champions 4-2 and in their second match of the group and later they also bested El Litoral (a team from the North-East of the country) 4-0 and finished with another win against Santa Fe for 2-0.
If we talk about Buenos Aires, the defending champions, finished second on the zone A with 4 points after losing to the hosts and drawing with Santa Fe (2-2) but finished with a 4-0 win against El Litoral with goals scored by Paula Ortiz (she was part of las Leonas under Agustin Corradini tenure), the Leona María Victoria Granatto scored 2 goals and Carolina Gluch scored four goals for her team. Those 4 points were enough to secure a spot in the semifinals and to make them one of the 4 top teams of the tournament.
In group B, Cordoba finished first after winning its 3 matches. In its debut they bested Tucumán with a 4-1 win with the Leona Julieta Jankunas scoring one goal to help her team to secure the win. In its second match, they cruised against Misiones with a final score of 6-0 and finished the pool phase with a 1-0 win against Bahía Blanca. The second place of the group was for Bahía Blanca that finished with the same amount of points as Tucuman but ended up second because a better goal difference. The bahienses advanced to knockout stages after beating Misiones and tying against Tucumán.
Knock out stages
Semifinals paired up Mendoza vs Bahía, Blanca and Buenos, Aires vs Cordoba. In these matches, Mendoza advanced to the final along with Cordoba, while Bahía Blanca had to played for bronze.
The last time Mendoza was crowned champions was in 2013 and the team had hopes to win the title again. Just 2’ into the match, the hosts had a short corner and opened the score line through Delfina Thome. Mendoza attacked as a team and took advantage of the individual talent in the team. Priscila Jardel, junior world cup champion, started an attack along with Thome that gave Young Olympic Games gold medal Gianella Palet the opportunity to score the second goal of the afternoon.
The last fourth quarter was key. Mendoza hit again through Barbara Muzaber, one of the champions on 2013. After that goal, there was nothing Cordoba could do and Mendoza lift the coup.
It is important to mention that Macarena Rodríguez, former Leona’s captain, was part of this championship team and this would be the last time she will ever wear her province shirt since she’s retiring at the age of 41.
Bahía Blanca got the bronze medal after losing to Mendoza in semifinals in shootouts. On the bronze medal match, the team beat Buenos Aires who’s always a candidate to win the title. The final score was 0-0 after a match where Bahía was better during the four quarters. Lucía Lopez, la Colo, was key on goal to stop all of Buenos Aires shootouts and then Lucía Argüello and Agustina Lertora converted for Bahía secure the third place leaving Buenos Aires empty handed.
Final standings on the tournament
1º Asociación Mendocina
2º Federación Cordobesa
3º Asociación Bahiense
4º Asociación Amateur de Hockey Sobre Césped de Buenos Aires
Top goalscorer: Julieta Jankunas (Córdoba) with 4 goals
Best player of tournament: Julieta Jankunas
Best player of the final: Gianella Palet
Best goalkeeper: Paula Pasquetín
In the men’s side, Buenos Aires, the defending champions, finished 1st in their group. They beat Entre Ríos 7-0, later they won over El Litoral 8-0 and finished with a 9-0 win. They collected three clean sheets in 3 matches played. El Litoral finished second after beating Tandil in their last match by 4-2 and finished with 4 points.
The hosts, Mendoza, finished first with 7 points after their win over Tandil and Tucumán, then they tied against Cordoba. And said team, Cordoba, finished second.
The big final was Mendoza vs Buenos Aires, while Cordoba and El Litoral fought for the bronze medal. Buenos Aires was the favourite after cruising in the pool phase and after beating Cordoba 6-1 in semifinals. While Mendoza won over El Litoral 2-0 and had the hopes to be champions again like in 2012.
Knock out stages
It was a boring match in the first two quarters with Buenos Aires having some chances to score like in the 29’ when the Capital team had a short corner while Mendoza had its first chance at the 38’. The crowd packed at the Godoy Cruz stadium had to wait until the 42’ and after a series of rebounds Juan Ignacio Catán (who is part of the national team) scored just minutes before the second quarter final whistle..
Mendoza looked better in the third quarter, nonetheless, and started to look for the equaliser. At the end of the final quarter, Mendoza had four short corners and a penalty stroke just seconds (40″) before the final whistle which Ojeda executed and converted.
At the shoot outs Mendoza were more effective and the goalkeeper Emiliano Bosso made a final save to stop Lucas Toscani definition and with that declared that Mendoza was champions again with a 4-3 score.
In the bronze medal match Cordoba bested El Litoral 3-2 with Cordoba scoring early into the match. In just 3’ into the first quarter the cordobeses put themselves in front with Julio Andres scoring for his team. Nicolás Acosta scored the equaliser at the 25’ after a short corner, the first one for the Litoral team. But Cordoba kept looking for another goal that it came just moments before the end of the second quarter.
El Litoral got another equaliser at the 43’ minute but Pedro Inaudi closed the match with the third goal for Cordoba and got the bronze medal.
1º Asociación Mendocina
2º Asociación Amateur de Hockey Sobre Césped de Buenos Aires
4º El Litoral
Top Goalscorer: Juan Ignacio Catán (Buenos Aires), with 13 goals.
Best player: Nicolás Acosta ( Litoral)
Best goalkeeper: Emiliano Bosso (Mendoza)
Best player of the final: Leandro Ojeda (Mendoza)