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Argentina edge out Spain to enter final

July 09, 2005 00:50 IST

An extra-time goal by Pedro Ibarra carried Argentina to a 2-1 victory against Spain and fetched them a berth in the final of the Rabobank Men's Junior World Cup hockey tournament in Rotterdam on Friday.

Spain, who led by 23rd minute penalty corner goal by skipper David Algere, yielded ground in the face of persistent onslaught by Argentina who equalised in the 55th when Mattias Gonzalez set up Lucas Rossi for a deflection inside the circle.

Past the 75th minute, Ibarra, left unmarked on the right, drove home after a Spanish defender unwittingly cleared the ball straight to the Argentine forward.

It was Argentina's second consecutive entry into the World Cup final. They had lost to India in 2001 at Hobart. Argentina await the winners of the second semi-finals between India and Australia to be played later tonight.

Seventh-ranked Argentina full deserved the victory today. Following their surprised 3-1 success against the high-flying Australia on Wednesday, Argentina was in an upbeat mood and their confidence reflected in the manner in which they handled the first-half reverse to bounce back.

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On the other hand, Spain, ranked No.1 in the tournament, depended far too much on their skipper, David Algere, who on the day was tightly marked.

Algere was forced to play from a withdrawn position that took away his effectiveness. Spain's failure to build on the first-half lead was to prove their undoing as they appeared content to fall back on the ropes and ride the punches.

Such a tactic was bound to backfire as Argentina, on resumption, mounted waves of attack and kept the Spanish defence under pressure that eventually paved the way for the equaliser.

A fast left-wing move saw Gonzalez in possession inside the circle and he showed presence of mind to essay a short pass to Rossi stationed near the goalmouth. Rossi wasted no time in slamming home from close.

Thereafter, the Spaniards barely survived the Argentine attacks and the teams ended the regulation period tied 1-1.

Came the extra-time and Argentina persisted with their attacks and within five minutes, Ibarra cracked home to second angle from the right for the golden goal.

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