The Hockeyroos have suffered their second loss of the FIH Pro League, falling 1-0 to Argentina in wet conditions on Saturday night at Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre.
The buzz of Rachael Lynch’s 200th match and Michaela Spano’s debut wasn’t enough to energise the Australians after a gruelling few days of travel.
Despite controlling the pace of the game early Australia quickly began to tire as the match progressed, eventually giving the Argentinians an opportunity to take the lead late in the second quarter.
Argentina’s Captain Delfina Merino was able to breakthrough in the 24th minute of the match.
Rosario Luchetti was named Player of the Match after an impressive performance in front of the packed crowd of 3,129 hockey fans.
“It was a disappointing performance, we weren’t good enough today,” Coach Paul Gaudoin said.
“Credit to Argentina the 1-0 scoreline hurts but we’ll move on very quickly to New Zealand tomorrow.”
The Hockeyroos are now third in the standings with 14 points, behind Argentina and the Netherlands.
Australia takes on Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand from 5pm AEDT on Saturday in Sydney.
An evenly matched first term saw Australia create a number of scoring opportunities but the Hockeyroos were unable to impact the scoreboard.
Sophie Taylor took a shot from the edge of the circle in the 13th minute of the match but her strike fired wide across the face of goal.
Savannah Fitzpatrick followed up just moments later but her two attempts from directly in front were thwarted by Argentinian goalkeeper Belen Succi.
In a match where 31 circle entries created 15 shot attempts, just one goal found its’ way into the back of the net by way of Merino in the 24th minute of the match.
Merino found herself on the back post with a clear shot on goal off a fantastic assist from Eugenia Trinchinetti.
A band of heavy rain hit the venue in the third term reducing the play to a tight and scrappy contest, but strong efforts from Savannah Fitzpatrick, Jodie Kenny and Lily Brazel created a number of Penalty Corner opportunities.
Australia tried to fight their way back into the match and almost tied things up when Kenny rocketed an on-target dragflick in the 43rd minute, miraculously Succi was able to defend the shot using her back foot on a diving save.
The fourth quarter saw Argentina take control, with 59 per cent of the possession, the visitors were able to pepper the goals.
In a display of fortitude, Jocelyn Bartram stood up to the Argentinian attack, defending six circle entries and three shots
A last gasp effort from Mariah Williams saw the Hockeyroos with a Penalty Corner opportunity to tie up the match but an error from Georgina Morgan saw the chance go begging.
Argentina 1 (Merino 24’)