Argentina, Dutch & Aus lead Champions Trophy

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Argentina, the Netherlands and Australia top the standings at the women's field hockey Champions Trophy in Buenos Airesy

Updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Argentina, the Netherlands and Australia top the standings at the women's field hockey Champions Trophy in Buenos Aires after all three secured their second consecutive victories in the competition on Sunday. The Netherlands were up against Japan in the first match. The Dutch won their opening game on Saturday against Spain and were soon dominating this match-up as well. They forced four penalty corners in five minutes, and took a deserved lead in the 28th minute thanks to Maartje Paumen. Kim Lammers then scored her second goal in as many games just before the break to give the Dutch a 2-nil lead. The match was much the same in the second half as Japan struggled to contain their Dutch opponents. It was no surprise then when the Netherlands went three-nil ahead in the 47th minute with a goal from Fatima Moreira de Melo. The Dutch held on to their 3-nil lead to gain their second successive win in the tournament and a maximum six points out of six. Good start Australia have also won both their opening matches - they beat defending champions Germany 2-1 in their second game on Sunday. However, they had to come from behind for the win. The Germans pressed from the start. As the first half closed a penalty corner resulted in a pile-up and a penalty stroke that Tina Schetze converted for the lead. Australia rallied in the second half though. Madonna Blyth equalised off a penalty corner four minutes in and Australia went ahead for the first time when Rebecca Sanders converted from a penalty corner with five minutes to go. The Hockeyroos, who were helped by the fact that Germany's Eileen Hoffman was sent off for a rough foul, went on to post a 2-1 win that leaves Germany in trouble. In the final match of the day Argentina beat Spain 4-1 to join Australia and the Netherlands at the top of the standing with two wins out of two. The hosts went ahead early, with a goal from Daniela Maloberti in the fifth minute. Eight minutes later Noele Barrionuevo made it two-nil to Argentina. Then three minutes from the break Carla Revecchi added the third goal of the night. Esther Termans converted Spain's first penalty corner in the 47th minute to make it 1-3 and the Europeans finally maintained some possession to keep play out of their own end. Barrionuevo however restored Argentina's three-goal advantage in the 57th minute, scoring the only penalty corner for the Argentines of the second half and the match eventually ended 4-1. Monday is a rest day. On Tuesday, Spain meet Australia, Germany play Japan and Argentina face the Netherlands.

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