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Argentina defeats Ireland in Santiago final
23 Dec 2007 15:08

Argentina defeated Ireland in the final of the Samsung Four nations tournament in Santiago, Chile. The Argentine men’s team won the clash 2-1 thanks to two goals in the second part of the second half.

The game started brightly but it was Mark Ruddle in the Irish goal first called into action on 3mins with the defence caught napping Ruddle forced the centre forward wide when faced with a one on one and the shot went wide.

Both sides were locked in a high tempo battle however goal scoring opportunities were at a premium as Ireland more than matched their higher ranked opponents. Argentina did manage to win a penalty corner after striking an Irish foot in the circle but Ruddle saved the initial shot and the rebound went narrowly over his cross bar.

Ireland had chances of their own as impact sub Mark Irwin entered the fray and used his experience to win Ireland’s first corner. Ireland’s penalty corner expert Mark Gleghorne saw his effort tipped over the bar when it seemed destined for the top corner. As the half went on Ireland were creating more pressure on the south Americans and this paid off as Iain Lewers forced a turnover on the half way line and surged forward into the heart of the Argentinean defence as he set up Phelie Maguire who reverse sticked the ball over the advancing keeper for a great finish just before the interval to give Ireland the lead.

The second half started in similar vain as the night before with Argentina putting Ireland under pressure from the off, a miss trap in the Irish circle gifted them a penalty corner on 36m and although they beat Ruddle in the Irish net it was disallowed for a hand stop.

Minutes later Ireland allowed a 60 yard through ball into the Irish circle and Ruddle did well to prevent a certain goal although the defence gave away a penalty corner. After 3 re-takes the scores were even as Matuis Vila levelled matters with a drag low into the corner. The Argentines were dictating play and the Irish were relying on counter attacks as their best opportunity of scoring but the longer the game went on it was favouring Argentina.

Ireland’s defence had stood up well and Keeper Ruddle made several fine saves and was assisted by his cross bar after a cracking slap hit rattled off the wood work to safety. Then just as it looked the game was heading to extra time Argentina secured  a set piece corner which Juan Gilardi drag flicked into the Irish net with for the winner. Ireland through everything forward at the end but could not get a chance to equalise before full time blew.

Source: Irish Hockey Association

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