Argentina rally to down Canada , Malaysia hold Japan

Last Updated: Nov 27, 2011, 19:23 PM IST

Johannesburg: Pan American champions Argentina rallied with two second-half goals to pull off a 3-2 victory over Canada in a Pool B match of the Champions Challenge hockey tournament, on Sunday.

In an all-Asian encounter, Japan dominated the contest before a 69th minute goal allowed Malaysia to salvage a 2-2 draw in another Pool B game.

Canada troubled their traditional rivals no end, and surged to a 2-1 lead at half-time after Keegan Pereira`s angular shot from top of the box sounded the boards in the 20th minute and Philip Wright fired in a 31st minute raid.

Lucas Hernan Camareri scored for Argentina in the 26th minute. The Argentine efforts produced more results in the second session when Lucas Vila converted a penalty corner to draw parity four minutes into the second session.

Pedro Ibarra got the match-winner for Argentina in the 54th minute with a low drag-flick that landed on target. Canada had failed to secure direct entry into the 2012 Olympic Games after losing the Pan American final to Argentina.

Japan will consider themselves unlucky not to have secured full points from Malaysia in a match they dominated and led from the fifth minute until the 69th before conceding an equaliser that provided Malaysia a sigh of relief.

Hiruki Sakamoto opened the account for Japan with a field goal in the fifth minute and Katsyoshi Nagasawa made it 2-0 four minute later by sending a grounder penalty corner flick into the boards.

This is Japan`s second successive draw, after splitting points with Argentina in their opening outing yesterday.

Malaysia managed to reduce the lead midway through the second half when Tengku Ahmed deflected Amin Rahim’s penalty corner shot past the goalkeeper.

Japan continued to dominate play, but failed to bolster the lead, while Rahim capitalised on a penalty corner in the second last minute by beating the goalkeeper with a low flick.

PTI