Ireland went down 5-3 to Argentina in their second match at the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Sunday in Ipoh, Malaysia.
Penalty corner specialist Gonzalo Peillat was the difference between the two sides as the statistics point towards an otherwise even contest.
Ireland also lost their opener on Saturday, going down to a 4-1 defeat to hosts Malaysia.
In fact, it was the Irish who controlled much of the opening 20 minutes as they moved the ball around the back and dealt well with the Argentinian press. Mark Ingram made two early saves against the run of play but the opening goal was deservedly Ireland’s.
Sean Murray, outstanding throughout, glided into the circle through three defenders and his rebounded shot fell to Shane O’Donoghue for the close-range goal.
Murray got his own goal in the 17th minute and it was a sight to behold. He again evaded the experienced Argentinian defence to charge into the circle and sent a rocket on his reverse past Juan Vivaldi from an acute angle to give the Green Machine a 2-0 lead.
FT: Argentina win 5-3, Peillat PC hat trick the difference. Rest day tomorrow, back in action on Tuesday at 8am against England— Irish Hockey (@irishhockey) March 4, 2018
But Argentina appeared to wake up from a slumber and the intensity of their play increased dramatically. Three goals in 10 minutes changed the landscape of the game with two of those coming courtesy of Peillat from PC routines.
Sandwiched in between his goals was Lucas Villa’s as he swept home from close range following superb 3D skills from Luca Masso.
On the cusp of half-time, the Olympic Champions earned another PC but the ball was stopped on the line by Johnny Bell’s foot and Juan Gilardi converted the ensuing penalty stroke to make it 4-2 at the break.
The second half saw the Green Machine create more tangible chances as Pembroke players Alan Sothern and Kirk Shimmins linked up nicely down the left but Pedro Ibarra cut out the cross to prevent a clear shot.
Eugene Magee continued to trouble the Argentinian defence as he just missed the final touch from a Murray ball across goal. Moments later he was diving in front of Vivaldi in an attempt to deflect home Michael Robson’s pass.
Cards galore! Argentina down to 8 men and Ireland with another PC— Irish Hockey (@irishhockey) March 4, 2018
The momentum seemed to belong to Ireland but up stepped Peillat for another PC rocket to cement his sides 5-2 lead.
Discipline seemed to go out the window in the dying minutes when Argentina found themselves with just 8 men following a green and 2 yellow cards. 2 PC’s for Ireland looked like golden opportunities but the attempts didn’t trouble Vivaldi and Argentina ran out 5-3 victors in a highly entertaining fixture.
Ireland are next in action on Tuesday at 8am (Irish time) against England followed by games against Australia and India.