LEICESTER: The Hand of God is clearly as active as ever and was spotted at Leicester yesterday waving Argentina on their way to a world cup quarter final, possibly against Ireland.
High in the West Stand of Leicester City’s stadium, not the rugby ground across the way, Diego Maradona , visibly different to when he set world record transfer fees, was enjoying himself immensely, jumping up and down as the Pumas ran in five tries, for a bonus point win but never really shook off a Tongan side which needs to finish at least third in the group to qualify directly for Japan in 2019.
Argentina scored five tries to get a bonus point that all but seals a place in the last eight, unless the Pumas lose to last-place Namibia and Tonga gets an unlikely win – with a bonus point – against tournament favourites New Zealand in their last games.
Nicolas Sanchez, wearing 10 on the field, was among the try-scorers and leads the tournament point-scoring list with 51.
The other tries came from full-back Joaquin Tuculet, left winger Juan Imhoff, right winger Santiago Cordero, and replacement hooker Julian Montoya.
Fly-half Kurt Morath and front-rower Soane Tonga’uiha got the tries for Tonga, who led 5-0 early.
Tongan centre Siale Piutau had said the Tonga’s “wolf pack mentality” would hound the Pumas into submission and they certainly gave as good as they got in a free-flowing first half to trail 20-13 at the break, with two tries apiece.
Ultimately, however, Argentina fly-half Sanchez proved the difference, tormenting Tonga with the boot and ball in hand, weighing in with 25 points from four penalties, four conversions and one of the Pumas’ five tries.