Dutch women secure bonus point in match against Las Leonas

As expected, it was an energetic match from start to finish between the Netherlands and Argentina. There were plenty of penalty corner chances on both sides, while stellar goalkeeping and stingy defence made chances of a field goal a stiff feat. Penalty corner finishes from Dutch flicker Frédérique Matla and Argentina’s ace deflector Maria Granatto left the game level 1-1. Four-straight shootout finishes and two saves from the Netherlands secured the home team the extra point.

In the opening quarter Argentina had a pair of penalty corner chances. Agustina Gorzelany, the league’s current top goal scorer, ricocheted a rocket flick off the cross bar forcing the Dutch to scramble to clear the ball. Lidewij Welten expertly ran down Gorzelany’s second attempt minutes later and the teams settled for a scoreless quarter.

Frédérique Matla showed great composure in the circle in the 29th minute to find the foot of Argentine defender Victoria Sauze. Matla was the beneficiary of her own hard work as her drag flick beat Belen Succi stick side to give the Netherlands a 1-0 lead heading into half time.

The Leonas continued to hunt down a response despite lots of opportunity in the Netherlands circle. A back-hand cross from Agustina Albertarrio appeared to beat Josine Koning in the Dutch goal but Maria Granatto couldn’t get the finishing touch. Quality defence kept both teams off the scoresheet in the third quarter. Argentina finally found their equalizer in the final minutes of the game. A textbook finish on a penalty corner delivery from Gorzelany found the stick of Maria Granatto for an expert deflection to draw the game 1-1. Agustina Albertarrio forced a penalty corner with 55 seconds to go but Gorzelany’s flick was brilliantly steered away by Netherlands post-player Sanne Koolen.

In the shootout, Netherlands keeper Koning steered Victoria Granatto wide for the opening shot and from there the Dutch went four-for-four to secure the extra point. Matla’s spin, Yibbi Jansen’s patient back-hand, Kyra Fortuin’s flick and Xan deWaard’s calm finish were enough to overcome the skilled Leonas. Argentina did notch finishes from Albertarrio on the back-hand and Gorzelany on a penalty stroke after Trinchinetti’s attempt but the Leonas were left to settle for the single point.

Player of the match and Dutch captain Xan de Waard said after the game: ‘It’s a shame that we drew the game. Of course we won with shootouts but we want to win in full time. I think it went pretty well because we haven’t been together in a few months so after the championships, being together for the first time, we played okay. Of course, some mistakes but we can learn a lot from this game and hopefully tomorrow we can take the win.’

Argentina’s Eugenia Trinchinetti said after the match: ‘Now I’m a little bit angry as we wanted the three points but I’m happy with the team. We have had a really good match. I think the shootouts are a bit lucky so maybe we need to see the video and prepare for the next match. Today, though I think that we looked to get the win every time and we were aggressive and tried to score.’