Women’s Champs Trophy final: Argentina vs Aussies
MENDOZA, Argentina (AP) — Luciana Aymar will bow out of international field hockey with another title shot after Argentina edged the Netherlands 2-1 in a thriller to reach the Women’s Champions Trophy final on Saturday.
Aymar, the midfielder and captain regarded as the best women’s player ever, will try to lead defending champion Argentina to a sixth Trophy title at the expense of Australia on home turf in her last match, 16 years after her senior debut.
The Australians beat New Zealand 3-0 in a shootout, after coming from behind to finish regulation time at 1-1 of their semifinal.
Argentina and the Netherlands were also headed to a shootout until the last minute, when Carla Rebecchi smacked in loose ball in the circle, after two rapid saves by Dutch goalkeeper Joyce Sombroek.
She and Argentina counterpart Belen Succi starred.
Lidewij Welten opened for the Dutch in the first quarter, and Silvina D’Elia equalized for the home side from a penalty corner to start the second half.
The Dutch had a goal disallowed on video referral, and the subsequent penalty corner was missed. Rebecchi’s winner took a long time to be confirmed, as officials checked for obstruction. When it was finally cleared, Argentina was into a seventh consecutive Trophy final, matching Australia’s record from 1987-99.
Aymar has featured in all five of Argentina’s Trophy championships.
Australia will appear in its first final in five years, looking for its first title in 11 years.
It had to come from behind its semifinal, too. New Zealand, trying to reach its first final, scored in the second minute through a penalty corner by captain Anita Punt.
But Australia dominated from then, and the weight of possession and attacks produced an inevitable goal, Amelia Spence knocking in Brooke Peris’ overhead pass in the third quarter. But Australia couldn’t subdue the Kiwis until the shootout.
In New Zealand’s three attempts, it lost possession, shot wide, and hit the post. Meanwhile, Australia captain Casey Eastham had her shot saved, but was compensated by scores from Georgia Nanscawen, Karri McMahon and Emily Smith.