Pizarro lifts Argentina to victory
21 Jan. 2021
Following today’s win in their opening main round match against Japan, Argentina can still hope for a quarter-final place.
The South American team are now on four points, while Japan remain on one point and hardly have a fighting chance to progress to the next stage.
MAIN ROUND GROUP II
Japan vs Argentina 24:28 (13:17)
Diego Simonet, who had missed the two previous matches due to an injury, was back in Argentina's squad for the match against Japan, just like his brother Sebastian.
Their presence certainly added creativity to the South American team's attack, who took an early control of the game and led 6:2 after 10 minutes.
Notably, five of the six goals from Argentina were scored by right back Federico Pizarro. Japan, though, also had a hero in their squad, and, following a time-out taken by Dagur Sigurdsson, three goals by left back Tatsuki Yoshino closed the gap to 5:6.
The ‘Gladiators’ weathered the storm, and their good defence combined with a string of goals by Pizarro and Diego Simonet put them into a 14:10 lead.
Japan, however, did not give up and cut the deficit again, mostly thanks to Yuto Agarie's good work in attack. Argentina's coach Manolo Cadenas was hardly pleased and reacted too emotionally on the sideline, getting a yellow card for it.
His instructions during the time-out helped the team, though, to finish the first half on a good note, comfortably leading by four goals.
Early in the second half, three unanswered goals by Pizarro, Santiago Baronetto and Diego Simonet increased Argentina's advantage to 20:13, but Japan did not give up and tried to stay within fighting distance, trailing 17:22 by minute 40.
Then, Argentina did not concede a goal for eight minutes, mainly thanks to Lionel Maciel's saves – however, the Japanese defence also did well, allowing the Gladiators to score just once during that spell.
Towards the end of the match, both sides had an easier time scoring goals, but Argentina held a steady advantage.
Five minutes before the final buzzer they were up 26:22 and went on to clinch a win, with Pizarro becoming the top scorer of the game with 10 goals.
hummel Player of the Match: Federico Pizarro, Argentina