ARGENTINA 3 (2)
Lucas Rey 8 (FG)
Pedro Ibarra 13 (PC)
Guillermo Schickendantz 30 (FG)
MALAYSIA 0 (0)
ARGENTINA’S men have been the life and soul of the International Hockey Series Hockey 9s (they also consider themselves the sexiest team here) and they reached the final at a canter with a 3-0 victory over Malaysia in their last group game.
They will play the Kookaburras in the showpiece on Sunday with the prospect of a contest to rival the outstanding 4-4 draw the pair battled out in the round-robin match.
The physicality of the Argentinians was too much for the Malaysians who were too easily brushed off the ball and were unable to make inroads of their own into the South American half.
Lucas Rey, the Argentine captain, opened the scoring from open play after only eight minutes but it was Pedro Ibarra’s 13th-minute strike which really caught the eye.
He received the ball from a penalty corner, cruised into the Malaysian circle and roofed a tomahawk which almost burned through the goal netting.
From then it was a stroll in the rain for the South Americans, who are tipped to be a major threat when the Olympics hit Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Guillermo Schickendantz rammed home a half-volley after 30 minutes to finish things off and had it not been for an athletic performance from goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin, the Malaysians could have been a lot worse off.
“We have been working on our physicality and learning match by match,” said Rey afterwards. “We are really enjoying the format and are looking forward to the final.”
Words by Claire Middleton