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Argentina eves win hockey bronze

August 27, 2004 00:52 IST

World champions Argentina won the bronze medal in the Olympic women's hockey tournament on Thursday, beating China 1-0 less than a minute from the end.

"I'm so happy we won but I'm exhausted. To be honest, China played worse than us," said Luciana Aymar, who knocked in the winner from just inside the circle 59 seconds from time.

The teams, two of the most entertaining throughout the championship, looked tired and lacklustre despite regular runs at both goals.

Argentina, who won silver at the Sydney Games, lost 3-2 to China in a riveting match in the pool stages but the third-place game was just a shadow of that.

This time, "Las Leonas" (The Lionesses) were stronger, setting up 12 chances at goal against just five for China.

UNCHARACTERISTICALLY SLOPPY

In the first half, China were uncharacteristically sloppy in defence, giving away two short corners.

"We have a lot to improve on technically to be one of the best teams in the world," goalkeeper Nie Yali said.

Argentina seemed to wake up at the start of the second half, attacking the goal five times in as many minutes but China's defence stopped or crowded them out.

Finally, Aymar made her fifth attack on goal, dragging the ball into the circle and flicking it hard into the top left of the net.

The Argentines leapt into the air and hugged each other more like the group of friends they are than a medal-winning team.

"It was a relief. We have a medal and even though it's not gold, it's our second medal in two Olympics and that's not bad," smiled Cecilia Rognoni.


Athens 2004: The Complete Coverage

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