Friday 9 March 2018 | The Kookaburras will head for Saturday night’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup final with a perfect record after two late goals clinched a 3-1 win over 2016 Olympic champions Argentina in Ipoh, Malaysia on Friday.
Australia were forced to come from behind after Gonzalo Peillat’s trademark drag flick in the 21st miunte, with Aaron Kleinschmidt netting the equaliser before half-time.
Trent Mitton and Kleinschmidt both scored goals in the final five minutes of the contest to maintain Australia’s perfect record.
The Kookaburras will need to wait on other results to learn their final opponents, with Argentina, Malaysia, England and India all still in contention.
The final will take place at 11.30pm AEDT on Saturday evening live on Fox Sports.
Australia won the shots count nine to five and the circle entries 14 to eight, but failed to win one penalty corner, relying on three field goals.
Chances were few and far between in the opening 15, before Peillat fired past Tyler Lovell for the opener in the 21st minute from a penalty corner.
Mitton came close moments later, before Kleinschmidt levelled in the 25th minute with a reflex finish after Dylan Wotherspoon’s baseline run forced a save from Argentina keeper Juan Vivaldi.
Kookaburras goalkeeper Andrew Charter made two sharp saves in the third from Peillat’s drag flicks to ensure it remained 1-1 going into the final break.
Argentina captain Pedro Ibarra centred for Matias Paredes to force a good save from Lovell, before Australia went ahead in the 55th minute.
Mitton weaved around three Argentine defenders inside the shooting circle before rifling a shot beyond Vivaldi.
Barely a minute later, Kleinschmidt showed determination after his initial shot was saved, firing home a bouncing shot with the aid of a deflection for 3-1.
Australia 3 (Kleinschmidt 25’, 56’, Mitton 55’)
Argentina 1 (Peillat 21’)