Johannesburg - The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team went down 4-1 to world champions Argentina after trailing 2-1 at half-time in the Four Nations encounter in Buenos Aires late Thursday night.
The world champs’ goals came from Josefina Sruoga, captain Nol Barrionuevo, Roberta Werthein and Carla Dupuy with Northern Blues’ Dirkie Chamberlain replying for the green and gold.
Argentina opened the scoring in the opening minutes, with South Africa goalkeeper Mariette Rix beaten by a Sruoga deflection from a penalty corner to make it 1-0.
South Africa's chance came in the 10th minute after Kathleen Taylor of WP was hacked in the 23m area but the deflected shot from Southern Gauteng's Lisa Deetlef was saved by Argentine keeper Laura del Colle.
A great through ball set-up Werthein at point-blank range but Rix was up for it. With 13 minutes remaining in the first half, a visionary Barrionuevo overhead gave Rosario Luchetti a great opportunity but Rix was equal to it. However, the penalty corner a minute later saw Barrionuevo fire low past Rix’s right to make it 2-0.
With the break three minutes away, Deetlefs set up Chamberlain to scramble the ball home to narrow the deficit.
Soon after the changeover, the visitors won consecutive penalty corners and SA player of the Year Tarryn Bright of WP had her shot saved. The home side also had chances but were repelled. However, Werthein smashed in for a two-goal cushion a bit later.
Deetlefs cleared off the line with 20 minutes left and then replacement keeper Sanani Mangisa of Northern Blues glove-saved but seconds later Carla Dupuy swivelled to make it 4-1 and it stayed that way till the final whistle.
The visitors gave Argentina their Africa continent place at London 2012 in return for the South Americans’ berth at the Olympic Qualifier in Delhi in February next year. The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee did not recognise the quality of play at the Africa Cup and set the national team more rigorous targets.
After Friday’s rest day, SA meet India at 20:00 SA time on Saturday needing a draw in their final round-robin match to reach the final. Argentina later tackle Ireland.