The women's Argentine team struggled, in their début, to defeat Uruguay 2-0, on Tuesday, in the fifth South American Championship - which will qualify the champion for the Pan-American Games in Santo Domingo, DominicanRepublic, in August.
Laura Maiztegui, in the fifth minute, and Alejandra Gulla, in the 60th, obtained the victory to the Argentine squad, in the first match of the day held atthe Club Manquehue.
With an alternative team, featuring young players from the provinces, and only four seniors (led by World Cup champions Claudia Burkart and Mariné Russo), Argentina came to Santiago to take part in this South Americanevent to give experience to the younger players, as the national team is already qualified for the Pan-American Games as defending titlist.
Meanwhile, Uruguay will fight for the Continental Tournament second spot against Chile for a Pan-Am Games place and this will be revealed on the last day of the tournament - on Sunday - when the teams will play each other.
Though Argentina opened the score early - in the sixth minute - through Laura Maiztegui, after a lucky rebound from the Uruguayan defence, Sergio Vigil's team did not play well.
Argentina abused transporting the ball, played individually, had problems to move from defence and also in midfield and were innacurate with their crosses. So they did not reach their rivals' cirlce clearly while the Uruguayan back row sparkled led by Bettiana Ceretta, along with a magnificent performance by goalie Jimena Bouzas.
But to have a good defence is not enough, a team also needs to attack and Uruguay only produced sporadic and weak advances.
Three minutes from the start, a rush by Uruguay's captain Ana Hernández(Uruguay's most dangerous forward) finished in a cross shot which went just wide.
In the 17th minute, a corner flick by Ceretta was saved without problems by Argentina's goalie Angela Cattáneo. And that was all.
Uruguay needed to draw and this encouraged spectators' hopes of a better second half. In fact it was, as the Argentine side produced good goal chances while the Uruguayan counter-attack - always through Hernández - brought enthusiasm to their supporters, but the Charrúa forward received poor support from her teammates and often did not find a player to cross the ball to.
Uruguay's goalie sparkled again as she saved a shot from Cecilia Del Carril, in the 46th minute; a powerful hit by Gulla, in the 52nd, and a corner shot from Gabriela Monis, in the 59th minute. But she could not avoid the 2-0 lead for Argentina when Gulla capitalized on an accurate cross from Burkart, 10 minutes before the end.
Uruguay then increased pressure getting a pair of corners. One of them, shot by Cerretta, hit Argentina's left post after the ball was touched by keeper Cattáneo. But the result was sealed and in spite of the Uruguayaneffort, Argentina were superior on the balance, winning without shining.
National coach Sergio Vigil showed his satisfaction with Argentina's performance and though he admitted nerves on their debut, he said that his team "played solidly."
Vigil also praised the Uruguayan keeper's performance, saying that Argentina produced several goal chances, "but the keeper played brilliantly."
Argentina will play again on Thursday against Chile.
Argentina: Cattáneo; Monis, D'Elía, Burkart, Reina; Del Carril, Russo, Rodríguez; Simmermacher, Gulla and Maiztegui. Also played: Cerutti, Pallitto, Bouza, Rebecchi and Diez. Coach: Sergio Vigil.
Uruguay: Bouzas; L. Margni, Bueno, Ceretta, Boullosa; Carluccio, Chiara, C. Margni; Hernández, Arigón and Casabó. Also played: Pérez Arocena, Pérez and Ríos. Coach: Ariel Holan.
Umpires: Ann van Dyk (Canada) and Susan Gómes (Trinidad & Tobago).
ANOTHER HUGE SCORE FOR CHILE
The Chilean men's team got another huge victory, this time against Paraguay by 21-0. Chile had beaten Peru 12-0 in their début.
Felipe Montegú netted eight goals - in the fourth, 10th, 12th, 28th, 44th, 54th, 57th and 65th, five of them from short corners. The other goals were netted by Esteban Krainz (12th, 27th, 33rd and 51st minutes); Alan Stein 31st, 34th, 42nd and 69th); Alfredo Thiermann, in the 19th and 60th minutes; Matías Amoroso (24th and 63rd) and Pablo Kühlenthal, in the sixth minute.
With these results, Chile jumped to the lead with six points and better goal difference than Argentina and Uruguay, which also have six points.
Men: Peru v Brazil; Uruguay v Argentina.
Women: Peru v Paraguay.
* Graciela H. Ortiz is the Buenos Aires Herald sports editor and