Group leaders look clearer as Argentina, Canada close out pool play with shutout wins

October 29, 2023

Group leaders look clearer as Argentina, Canada close out pool play with shutout wins

On the final day of men’s pool play at the XIX Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile it was Canada and Argentina who close out their respective pools with shutout wins to secure the top of their pools. For Pool B, Canada took down Trinidad and Tobago 4-0, while in Pool A, Argentina put up a whopping 22-0 over Peru thanks to eight goals from forward Tomas Domene.

MEN Pool B: Canada (4) – Trinidad and Tobago (0)

Canada dominated in possession the entire game but seemed a bit slow to get on the board. The experience of Andrey Rocke, in goal for Trinidad and Tobago, showed today as the Canadians were forced to re-work their attacks to find a way through. Floris van Son and Brendan Guraliuk’s interchange were creating all kinds of space but the chances seemed slow to come. 

Canadian captain Gordie Johnston went on a run up the middle of the pitch and found van Son at the top of the circle. A nifty upright shot on the back hand was deflected at the far post by Matthew Sarmento to give Canada the 1-0 lead.

Van Son nearly doubled the lead in the second quarter with a wide open look at goal but Rocke’s right boot made the save. Trinidad and Tobago struggled to break out but when they did they were often on a solo mission. Teague and Tariq Marcano were the two who could get into Canada’s end but without numbers continued to fall short.  

After numerous Canadian chances, it was a long run from Sean Davis up the right side that doubled the Red Caribou’s lead. Somehow unchallenged Davis was able to gain the circle and sweep towards goal and the ball skipped under Rocke. 

The second half tilted even more in favour of the Canadians despite gritty defensive work from Tariq Marcano and Dylan Francis in the Trinidad and Tobago back line. Van Son was taken to ground to give Canada a penalty corner and skipper Gordie Johnston made no mistake to seal Canada’s third goal.

Trinidad and Tobago had an attacking penalty corner but the option from Tariq Marcano to Byer was deflected well why of the Canadian cage. Defender Balraj Panesar thought he might get his name on the scoresheet as a rebound fell fortuitously for him in the circle but his finish was called back after a video referral.   

A penalty corner at the end of the third quarter allowed Canada a chance to work their options and the Johnston delivery up the middle was deflected well by James Kirkpatrick to bring Canada up 4-0. The finally tally secures Canada at the top of Pool B.

“We struggled to connect a bit but we eventually got there and it’s kind of theme for us at this tournament that we haven’t clicked right off the get-go but hopefully in the last two games we can put it together early and make it happen,” said Canada’s Sarmento. 

“We were a little more composed today and a few objectives to keep the structure which we did in the first and second quarter but it kind of ran away from us then,” said keeper Andrey Rocke. “For me, for most of it the guys kept it together for most of the game. The next set of games is important for us, the 5-8th playoffs, and we think we can get to the 5-6th place so we are going to do our best.”

 MEN Pool A: Argentina (22) – Peru (0)

It was the inevitable David and Goliath match up of the tournament as Argentina blasted 22 past Peru today, comprehensible as 55 world ranking spots sit between the teams. The scoring started in the third minute and while Argentina didn’t ease off the gas they respectfully put on a master class. Tomas Domene had five goals in the opening half alone, mostly off his powerful penalty corner flicks, and finished the game with eight goals. 

In the opening half, Nicolas Keenan and Maico Casella each scored two, while veteran Agustin Mazzilli turned and fired at the top of the circle to add his name to the board. By halftime the margin was already up to 11-0 but the Peru side never stopped running. Peru keeper Diego Chipana did what he could, often making the first stop, but ultimately facing too many penalty corners and flurries of attack from close range. 

A highlight goal in the third quarter came off a scoop from Nicolas della Torre to a waiting Keenan at the top of the circle. Keenan redirected the ball into space and with the ball bouncing he smashed the ball upright, on his reverse, and straight in to the bottom corner for 13-0. 

Domene added two more, while Lucas Toscani had a hat trick in the third quarter to make it 17-0 heading into the final frame. Three more goals in the final quarter, including an eighth for Domene, brought the total to 22-0 for Argentina who secure the top of Pool A comfortably. 

“We came to do our best, score as many goals as possible, to set a high standard and above all try to continue training and progressing for the semifinal," said Lucas Toscani of Argentina. "Now (we focus on) the most important part of the tournament."

“It was a difficult match but I came to play these matches to gain experience. As a group, we know that we are competing with really strong rivals and to be able to participate in this type of tournament in itself is an incredible opportunity,” said Peru keeper Diego Chipana. “We still have two more matches left and we must intensify our preparation.”

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Chile dazzle home crowd with win over Canada as Cuba, Mexico draw in Pool B play

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