Argentina 1 vs. 1 South Africa
2.00 Push back
Argentina push back. Their fans are already the noisiest people in the ground. In the second minute, the Argentines send the ball into the back of the net, but the Umpire blows the whistle for a free hit for South Africa. Soon this, Argentina wins a short corner, after an attack to the left baseline. The video umpire from Trinidad and Tobago is asked to check for a stick tackle in the circle, with South Africa saying that it was a phantom shout. Their call is upheld and the Argentine short is demoted to a long corner.
We are now into the tenth minute and Argentina are awarded another short corner, but it’s referred again. The RSA appeal is upheld, with he advice being that the infringement was outside of the circle. It’s 2 for 2 for South Africa in terms of referrals. With less than a 60 seconds of the first period to go, the Argentine captain, Delfina Merino, is shown a green card. Argentina will start the second quarter with 10 players. The score remains 0 – 0 after 15 minutes.
Two minutes in to the second period and Argentina win a short corner. It’s their first of the game, considering the two referrals earlier on. It’s slipped to the injector, who hits the keeper, with the ball coming back off of her at a high angle. Another short corner for Las Leonas. A shot, a save, and the rebound is cleared off the line. South Africa move the ball forward, away from their circle.
In the fourth minute South African Nicole Walraven gets hit in the face with a stick and has to go off in order to deal with the nasty looking cut to her head. We are now into the eighth minute of second period. A third short corner is awarded to Argentina. The shot is blocked and RSA win a foul for obstruction and counter quickly. A pass is sent to the back post, but there isn’t a connection in the circle Argentina get a hit out.
Argentina have had a huge amount of possession, with RSA looking to counter. If SA could have defended like they have been against the Spanish, then they may have gotten more out of that game and stood a chance of progressing to the cross overs. With only 15 seconds left South Africa get a shot off. It’s deflected and they regain possession. The ball is moved to the top of the circle and sent towards the goal. Jade Mayne gets a touch on it and sends it past the Argentine keeper. At half time the score is Argentina 0 – 1 South Africa. Wow!
There are doubts over the stamina of RSA now, as they have lost two players to head injuries in their three games, but there is a sense of almost disbelief as the weakest team in Pool C, are now leading the number three side in the world.
The game restarts and Argentina find themselves behind, even with the amount of possession that they have had. A pass into these circle means a scrabble for the RSA keeper, Phumelala Mbande, and her defenders. Argentina ask for a foot inside their circle, wanting a fourth short corner. It’s awarded, but the shot is deflected wide. We have had less than a minute played after the restart and Las Leonas have come looking for goals.
Argentina are still having most of the possession and fizz shot over the bar in the sixth minute of the second half. The still can’t find that equaliser. In the tenth minute Noel Barrionuevo is shown a green card, but this doesn’t deter her team mates and shortly afterwards the ladies in blue and white win another short corner. It’s another missed opportunity though and they score remain unchanged. Two minutes later, a spin and a smash from Florencia Habif sees a strong chance for her team, but it’s deflected over the bar. South Africa are defending deep and compact and the Argentines are simply running into a brick wall. The third quarter ends as it started with Sheldon Rostron’s side still leading 1 – 0.
We restart the game with the Argentine fans chanting ‘Vamos, Vamos Argentina!’ They win a short corner within 30 seconds of the restart. Noel Barrionuevo sends it back into the circle, but it’s seen wide of the goal by the RSA defence. Two minutes into the final period, South Africa make a bad pass out from defence and it’s pounced on by Las Leonas. Maria Granatto makes a run left to right across the circle, receives the pass and smacks it into the bottom left corner of Phumelala Mbande’s goal. The scores are now level, with a goal apiece.
Nineteen year old South African, Ongeziwe Mali, seems to have an issue with her knee, but looks to run it off. For them the game isn’t over. Argentina, however, are now looking to get another goal and cannon a shot off the Mbande’s pads. In the fourth minute, Argentina win another short corner, which is referred again to a busy video umpire. The debate is over the quality of the tackle on Granatto, which was the reason for the award in the first place. The advice is that there is no clear reason to change the decision and RSA lose their referral. Barrionuevo sends the ball goal wards, but the African keeper clears it to her right.
In the ninth minute of the game Argentina win a short corner. It’s sent straight at the keeper, who saves and Argentina win another in quick succession from the second phase. It’s slipped to the back post and blocked. A third set piece in quick succession, but the shot goes wide. It’s as if they ball doesn’t want to go in today.
Mbande denies Granatto’s reverse sticks strike, but Argentina win a short with three minutes of the match remaining. It’s deflected wide for a long corner. The Argentines refer for a short corner, for a dangerous lift from the RSA defender. The video umpire gives a short corner for Argentina. Two minutes and 53 seconds remain. Las Leonas win a short for a dangerous clearance from Mbande, but it’s saved again and her team wins a free hit. South Africa counter, but the pass into the circle is cut out. With two minutes and seven seconds left, Habif is shown a green card for a stick tackle. The game winds down and at full time the scores remain Aregentina 1 – 1 South Africa.