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FIH Hockey World League Final 2017: Resurgent Argentina draw level with Netherlands

ANALYST
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182   //    04 Dec 2017, 00:04 IST

Netherlands Argentina
Netherlands were not able to maintain their lead in the riveting clash against Argentina

An intense game between Netherlands and Argentina ended in a draw when penalty corner specialist Gonzalo Peillat struck a late equaliser in the fourth match of Pool A in the 2017 edition of the FIH Hockey World League Final held at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

From the start of the whistle, the spectators at the stadium were in for some crisp hockey as both teams were not ready to budge even an inch. It took Thierry Brinkman to break the deadlock. His crisp field goal in the 12th minute handed Netherlands an early lead of 1-0. The Dutch defense was superb for the vast majority of the first half.

Only seven minutes into the second half, Netherlands were overjoyed when Valentin Verga, ironically born in their opponent's nation, struck another goal into the Argentine goalpost. For a moment, it looked as if the Champions of Rio Olympics were in for some serious trouble. However, the Argentine team mounted a spectacular comeback.

They breached the Dutch defence in the 45th and 50th minute to earn two penalty corners. Matias Rey and Lucas Vila converted the massive opportunities to level the score.

Netherlands, however, were far from being subdued. In the 55th minute, Mirco Pruijser converted a penalty corner into a goal to put his team in front once again. However, the 57th minute saw the tables being turned as an aggressive tussle proved too much for Bjern Kellerman.

Kellerman was shown a yellow card and Netherlands were forced to play with ten men. This psychological pressure was suitably grasped by Argentina. They denied the Dutch team a victory as Gonzalo Peillat converted another penalty corner into a smart goal only a minute before the final hooter.

With the draw, Argentina have now reached the third position in Pool A even as Netherlands are at the bottom. As the two play next, against Spain and Belgium respectively, they will be hoping to rectify their previous mistakes before the action shifts to the knockout stages.

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