• England National Teams

Ruthless Argentina Overcome Improved England

Argentina 3 (2)

Toscani (9’, FG); Martinez (21’, FG; 60’, FG)

England 1 (0)

Bandurak (45+’, PC)

England’s men produced an improved display but suffered a second defeat in as many days against Argentina in the FIH Hockey Pro League.

Lucas Martinez was on target twice for the hosts while Player of the Match Lucas Toscani scored the opening goal and provided another assist.

Nick Bandurak bagged his second international strike in the third quarter as England looked to stage a comeback but it wasn’t to be.

Liam Sanford also made his 50th appearance for England as James Gall was named captain for the first time.

Cheered on by another enthusiastic crowd, Argentina made the better start as Nicolas Keenan shot wide in just the third minute, followed shortly after by Toscani forcing Payne into a save with an effort on the turn.

Two minutes later though, Toscani had the ball in the back of the goal after brilliantly controlling a pass into the circle, spinning past a defender and firing between Payne’s legs. England reviewed immediately but the video umpire ruled there was no advice possible and the goal stood.

Tomas Santiago was then called into action in the remaining minutes of the quarter to keep out a Sam Ward drag flick before subsequently blocking efforts by David Condon and James Albery.

David Goodfield saw a shot on the reverse whistle over the crossbar moments into the second quarter but it was Argentina who struck next, Toscani with a clever run and pull back for Martinez to lift into the roof of the net.

Santiago then produced another string of saves to keep Ward, Bandurak, Goodfield and Duncan Scott at bay and ensure his side remained ahead at the half-time interval.

Payne produced a brilliant triple save halfway through the third quarter to keep England in the game before they finally scored themselves as Bandurak fired home from a penalty corner.

Argentina closed ranks in the final quarter and made it very hard for England to enter their circle, while at the other end Martin Ferreiro should have sealed the win with five minutes left but blazed his strike way over the crossbar.

In the end, there was to be no way through for Zak Jones’ side and, with seconds remaining, Martinez added a second as he brilliantly controlled an aerial and squeezed the ball into an empty net, Payne having been taken off in place of an extra outfield player.

England return to FIH Hockey Pro League action against India on 2-3 April.

Starting XI: Park, Gall (C), Ward, Albery, Creed, Goodfield, Payne (GK), D Scott, Sanford, Sorsby, Smith

Subs (Used): Condon, Bandurak, P Scott, Turner, Nurse, Taylor

Subs (Unused): Mazarelo (GK)