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Narrow escape for Argentina at Pan American Cup
16 Feb 2009 04:30
 

Picture Alex Masters

Argentina retained the Pan American Cup title against the USA by the slimmest of margin. It took a sudden death penalty-stroke shootout after the game stayed tied 2-2 after regular time and overtime. Chile came from behind to beat Trinidad & Tobago (2-1) and earn the Bronze Medal.

Final – Argentina vs. USA : 2 - 2 (penalty-stroke: 7 - 6)

Argentina retained the Pan American Cup title after defeating the USA 7-6 in a penalty stroke shoot out.

A hesitating clearance from USA keeper, Amy Tran, resulted in a loose ball which Argentina’s Carla Rebecchi converted for the 1-0 lead in the 9th minute. The USA was more aggressive of the two teams and applied consistent pressure in Argentina’s defensive half. Argentina played a more counter-attack game, making the quick plays to keep the game competitive and interesting. As the first half wound down, USA got the equalizer for a well executed penalty corner off a deflected shot from Captain Carrie Lingo in the 29th minute.

In the second half, Argentina seemed to have regained the lead as they got the ball across the USA goal line but the umpire called an infringement against the Argentines, who protested. The umpire consulted with her fellow umpire and reversed the decision. Captain Rosario Luchetti was credited for the goal which put Argentina 2-1 up in the 39th minute. Argentina then took control of the game but in the 64th minute Lingo got the equalizer from a beautifully deflected field goal.

A late minute surge from the USA resulted in two penalty corners, but Argentina’s keeper Laura Aladro denied the USA with some spectacular saves and regulation time ended two goals apiece.

In the fifteen minutes of extra time, both teams had near misses but none could administer the final blow. At the end of extra time the score remained tied at 2-2 and the game needed to be settled with a penalty-stroke competition. Both teams scored 4 out of their first 5 strokes, and it is only in the eighth shot that the deadlock was finally broken, giving Argentina the win after a game that could have gone either way.

(Note: USA protested the result of the sudden death penalty stroke. The protest was overruled by the Tournament Director. USA submitted an appeal of the TD decision. The appeal was overruled by the Jury of Appeal)

3rd-4th – Chile vs. Trinidad & Tobago : 2 - 1

Chile edged Trinidad & Tobago 2-1 for the bronze medal.

Trinidad & Tobago altered their lineup as veteran attacker Stacy Sui Butt started in defense and it certainly did their offensive no harm as they scored off their first penalty corner in the 2nd minute of the game thanks to a shot from Blair Wynn. A slow paced game saw both teams share possession. Chile got their opportunities, they were unable to convert any of the four penalty corners and trailed Trinidad & Tobago at halftime.

Two minutes into the second half, Chile draw even as Fernanda Rodriguez executed the follow up shot off Trinidad & Tobago goalie Petal Derry's pad. The rain came and slowed down up the playing surface, but did not affect the intensity of the game. Another scramble in Trinidad & Tobago's semi-circle in the 49th minute resulted in Chile's Denise Infante getting the final touch after the scramble for the 2-1 win. In the end, Trinidad & Tobago finish fourth and Chile took third place in the tournament.

5th-6th – Canada vs. Mexico : 10 - 1

Canada took 5th place with an impressive 10-1 win over Mexico, who placed 6th overall in the tournament.

Canada's Katie Baker took advantage of a mishandled ball by Mexico to shoot them into the lead in the fourth minute. It was symptomatic of Mexico's defense instability and Canada, who seemed to be all over the pitch and consistently converted their chances. A left handed reserve shot from Callie O'Hara took the score 2-0 in the 10th minute and the bust Canadians converted another field goal in the 13th from Thea Culley. Canada gave Mexico a lesson in penalty corners as they executed the same penalty corner four times in first half with Culley, Natalie Wise, and Shannon Elmitt (a double), took turn providing the final deflective touch. Culley got her third, which brought the score 8-0 at the half.

Mexico never looked like the team that started the tournament, while Canada came prepared to play and continued to find their target. Culley added another goal in the 40th minute, her beaver trick and the Canada's ninth goal. Mexico did not leave the pitch empty handed as Michel Navarro completed a field goal in the 56th minute for the 9-1 score. But, Jessalyn Walkey put the final nail in the coffin in the 65th minute and brought the score in double figures as Canada finished 10-1 victors.

7th-8th – Jamaica vs. Bermuda : 2 – 0

Jamaica took the 7th place in a 2-0 win over the host, Bermuda, who placed eighth in the tournament.

In a sometimes scrappy game, Jamaica had the better of the exchanges although Bermuda at their share, but lacked the decisive touch when scoring opportunities came. Jamaica eventually found the target with a one-two combination between Shraree Russell and Krystal Reid in the 29th minute and Reid converted for the 1-0 lead at the half.

Three minutes into the second half, Russell demonstrated good composure by scooping the ball off the Bermuda keeper's pad to take the score 2-0. Jamaica continued to pressure Bermuda with good ball movement and penetrative passes but failed to add to their score line. The host got four consecutive penalty corners but, to the dismay of their vocal fans, could not convert. In the end 2-0 was a sufficient score for Jamaica to seal the victory and the 7th spot of the tournament.


Final Standings:
1.       Argentina
2.       USA
3.       Chile
4.       Trinidad & Tobago
5.       Canada
6.       Mexico
7.       Jamaica
8.       Bermuda

Player of the Tournament: Carla Rebecchi (Argentina)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Claudia Schüler (Chile)
Top Goal-Scorer: Noel Barrionuevo (Argentina) 12 goals


For more information, results, reports and pictures, check the Pan American Hockey Federation website by clicking here.



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