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Argentina whips T&T for hockey title shot

Thursday, August 10, 2017
T&T’s Jabari Perez challenges Argentina’s Lucas Vila for the ball in their main draw semifinals at the 2017 Pan American Cup Men’s Championship at USA Field Hockey Sports, Spooky Nook, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA, yesterday. Argentina won 8-1.

T&T “Calypso Stickmen” will have to play for the bronze medal tomorrow after going under to pre-tournament favourites and Olympic champions Argentina 8-1 in the first of two main draw semifinals at the 2017 Pan American Cup Men’s Championship at USA Field Hockey Sports, Pennsylvania, yesterday.

Winners of their previous three round-robin matches by a combined margin of 27 goals to two, the Argentines, two-time tournament winners put the game out of reach of the T&T squad as early as the fifth minute with three quick goals, all scored by by Matias Paredes in the third, fourth and fifth minutes.

Any hopes of a T&T come-back quickly faded as Ignacio Ortiz in the eighth minute and Gonzalo Peillat, two minutes later made it 5-0 at the end of the first 15-minutes quarter. The second quarter saw a much improved defensive effort from T&T as only Santiago Tarazona managed to add to the South Americans tally with a 27th minute field goal.

Australian-based T&T captain, Akim Toussaint pulled a goal back for his team in the 38th inute, his second of the tournament after his match winner against Mexico (3-2). But that only seemed to stir the South Americans back into life as Marc Ganly (41st) and Tarazona (47th) added two quick items for an 8-1 advantage.

The clash between T&T and the Argentines was a repeat of their meeting at the same stage of the competition when it was held in Brampton, Canada four years ago, which the South Americans won 8-0 en route to claiming a second title by beating the host in the final.

Back then, T&T had to settle for the bronze medal, and on Saturday , the Glen Francis-coached T&T will be again fighting for the bronze against the loser of last night’s second semifinal between Canada and USA from 7.15pm In their previous three matches so far in the competition, , T&T went under to Canada 6-0 in its opening Pool B round-robin match last Friday before edging past Mexico (3-2) and Brazil (2-1) for the runner-up spot in the pool with six points, three behind Canada.

The Argentines entered the match with a perfect 3-0 record after they crushed USA 6-0 in their opener on Friday and followed up with a 9-2 hammering of Chile and a12-0 mauling of Venezuela.