Great Britain: GB Women and Men suffer narrow defeats in season opener

GB Women went down 1-2 in the shootout against Argentina in their opening match of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023-24 season.

After playing a hard-fought 0-0 draw in the regulation time, GB could convert only one of their five attempts in the shootout. It was Sophie Hamilton who found the back of the net, while Tessa Howard, Izzy Petter, Hannah French and Katie Robertson missed out on converting their chances.

Meanwhile, for Argentina, Agustina Albertarrio and Victoria Manuele converted their chances to help the hosts bag the first win of the season.

An attacking start to the match saw the home side dominate ball possession and make a flurry of circle entries. However, it was Great Britain who came up with the first real chance, earning a penalty corner, but Ansley’s drag-flick went above the goalpost.

Argentina continued with their attacking intent and earned their first penalty corner in the sixth minute but missed out on converting it. They enjoyed the ball in the visitor’s half, but GB’s defence unit kept the hosts away from the goal to end the opening quarter at 0-0.

Argentina continued the second quarter on the front foot and earned their second penalty corner of the match, but goalie Sabbie Heesh made a comfortable save. GB too earned their second penalty corner in the following minute, but the Argentine goalie Clara Barberi denied the visitors from scoring.

The home side made a series of forays inside GB circle, but goalkeeper Heesh stood to avert the danger. GB managed to draw their third penalty corner of the match but missed out on converting it. They end the first half in a 0-0 stalemate.

The third quarter saw both teams exchanging attacks, but without causing much danger. Argentina drew a soft penalty corner in the 35th minute but were off target. GB too had their fourth penalty corner of the match in the 42nd minute, but the Argentine goalie Barberi made a comfortable save.

It was a similar quiet start to the final quarter, with both teams trying their best in the search for an opening goal. The home side earned yet another penalty corner in the 52nd minute, but couldn’t avail the opportunity.

Argentina remained resolute in their attack, but GB survived the danger with their water-tight defence to end the match at 0-0, leading to the first shootout of the season.

GB men suffered a narrow 1-2 loss against Argentina in their opening match of the season. Sam Ward (60’) scored the lone goal for GB, while Agustin Mazzilli (11’) and Tomas Domene (41’) got on the score sheet for the home side.

A cautious start to the match saw both teams pushing each other from one end to the other. The home side earned back-to-back penalty corners in the 9th minute but missed out on converting it. Two minutes later, they managed to break the deadlock through Mazzilli’s field goal. GB responded immediately and earned their first penalty corner of the match in the 13th minute but missed out on equalising, trailing by a goal at the end of the first quarter.

In their bid to score an equaliser, GB made inroads inside the Argentinian half, but the home side managed to clear the danger. In return, they earned their third penalty corner in the 23rd minute, but missed out on doubling their lead.

Relying on counterattacks, GB created various goal scoring chances in both open play and penalty corners, but couldn’t capitalise on the opportunities and ended the first half trailing 0-1.

GB started the third quarter on the front foot. They enjoyed the ball possession and put relentless pressure on the home side. They had a chance to equalise from the penalty corner but failed to convert it.

Meanwhile, the hosts had a flurry of penalty corners and were successful in doubling their lead in the 41st minute through Domene, who slotted the ball home on a rebound during the PC routine. GB tried their best to pull a goal back, but the Argentine defence kept them at bay, ending the third quarter with a 2-0 lead.

The visitors showcased urgency at the start of the final quarter, taking a shot on goal, but the Argentine goalie made the save. Both teams had a couple of penalty corner chances, but couldn’t make much out of it.

The latter phase of the quarter saw Argentina slowing down the proceedings, not allowing GB spaces to find an opening. With less than two minutes to go for the final hooter, GB removed their goalkeeper Ollie Payne to make room for an extra outfield player. They did manage to pull a goal back through Ward in the 60th minute, but that wasn’t enough as the visitors ran out of time in what turned out to be a cagey battle.

by Great Britain Hockey

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