Olympic champions Argentina had to toil hard against eighth-ranked Spain to register a 4-3 win in their first Pool A match of the Men's Hockey World Cup 2018 in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. Agustin Mazzilli and Gonzalo Peillat scored twice for Argentina but they were given a run for their money as Spain produced a brilliant effort on the field in their tournament opener. After a tricky win against Spain, Argentina currently sit at the top of the pool with three points.
Spain scored against world number two Argentina in the third minute through Enrique Gonzalez's fine field-strike past the Argentina goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi from a move which he only initiated.
But a minute later, Mazzilli drew level for Argentina, deflecting in a cross from the right wing past Spain's goalkeeper Quico Cortes.
Spain restored their lead in the 14th minute through a penalty corner conversion by Josep Romeu.
It was an end-to-end battle as Mazzilli equalised for Argentina in the 15th minute of the first quarter after receiving a pass from Lucas Villa on the left side.
Just seconds away from the end of the first quarter, Argentina scored again when drag-flick specialist Peillat converted a penalty corner with precision to hand his side the lead for the first time in the game.
Both teams played with the same intensity and pace in the second quarter but failed to find the net. Five minutes after the change of ends, Spain equalised through Vicenc Ruiz's (35th) field strike.
The match went on similar lines in the fourth and final quarter with both Argentina and Spain pressing hard for more goals to secure full three points. But it were the Argentines who succeeded in their effort when Peillat scored one more goal via a penalty corner in the 49th minute.
Following which, Spain did everything in their power, including withdrawing their goalkeeper for an extra player four minutes from the final hooter, but failed to breach the Argentina defence.
Argentina will play New Zealand in their next pool match on December 3, while Spain will be up against France.
(With PTI Inputs)