Argentina beat China in Azlan Shah hockey tournament


Ipoh (Malaysia) : Argentina remained on top of group A with a hard-fought 3-2 win over China in the 16th Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament here Monday.

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Villa scored a brace for the South Americans while Rossi struck once. For the Asian team, which suffered its second consecutive loss in the tournament, captain Song Yi and Liu Xian Tang scored one goal apiece.

Argentina, which defeated Australia in its opening match Sunday, took the lead in the 14th minute when Villa scored a beautiful field goal. After receiving a pass from the right flank an unmarked Villa took the Chinese defenders by surprise and sounded the board off a reverse stick shot.

Eleven minutes later, China fired the equaliser after Tang prised open the Argentine defence and shot past goalie Vivaldi. Both the teams played some fast hockey with deft passes. But Argentina seemed to have the upper hand and the deadlock was broken just two minutes prior to the breather, when Villa completed his brace by converting a penalty corner.

After the lemon break, it seemed that there was a sense of urgency among the Chinese players' and they kept on making regular forays into Argentina's defence in hunt for the much-needed goal which remained elusive till the 60th minute.

Song converted a penalty corner with just 10 minutes left to the final hooter to draw parity and give the Asian team a sense of relief. But a clinical strike by Rossi in the 64th minute sealed the fate of the match in favour of the South American team. After being fed by a diagonal pass from the base line, Rossi raced into the inner circle and cleverly executed a reverse stick shot to sound the board.