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Argentina start at a record pace

[img_assist|nid=4452|title=Argentina dominate|desc=South Africa’s Illse Davids (right) tackles Argentina’s Rocio Sanchez Moccia – hockeyimages.co.uk|link=node|align=right|width=220|height=146]LONDON, 29 July – Argentina started their London 2012 Olympic Games with a dominant, record-equalling performance against South Africa, winning 7-1 in women’s hockey at the Riverbank Arena on Sunday.

After some early penalty-corner attempts from Argentina, captain Luciana Aymar opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a neat scoop and shot after a fake move at the top of the circle.

South Africa conceded six penalty corners in the first half, and it was another set-piece move that provided Argentina’s second goal in the 20th minute, Josefina Sruoga pushing in a loose ball after Mariette Rix had saved Noel Barrionuevo’s flick.

Despite Argentina’s direct attacking play and sharp stick skills, South Africa were prepared to commit people forward and were rewarded in the 23rd minute with a goal on the counter-attack.

A long ball out of defence found Jennifer King high up the field on the right wing and her cross was finished off by the sprawling Dirkie Chamberlain in the centre to make it 2-1.

Argentina finished the half strongly with another three goals, one from Martina Cavallero, a second from Aymar, who then turned provider, driving through midfield to put Carla Rebecchi into the circle. Rebecchi  finished with a strong reverse stick shot to make it 5-1 at half-time.

The second half was much slower, with Argentina content to allow South Africa possession without creating threatening chances.

Argentina finally added to their total in the 61st minute, Barrionuevo taking advantage of a similar fake penalty corner move that brought Aymar’s first goal, before Silvina D’Elia finished the scoring in the 67th minute to make it 7-1 and equal the record for the biggest winning margin in women’s Olympic hockey.

Argentina also beat New Zealand 7-1 at Sydney 2000.

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