Thursday, December 12, 2013

Resolute India humble Argentina 4-2, to face Pakistan for 9th spot

It was pride that the Indian junior men’s hockey team was playing for after an embarrassing league phase exit from the 10th Junior World Cup.

And the Manpreet Singh-led side showed an extra hunger to correct the wrongs of the last match and came up with a resolute showing as they scripted an impressive 4-2 win over Argentina to set up a mouth-watering clash with arch-rivals Pakistan, which will determine who finishes ninth – a position Indian attained at the 2009 Junior World Cup.

The empty stands at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium greeted the Indians, but they must have been surely lifted by the presence of the senior team and senior team head coach Terry Walsh and HPM Roelant Oltmans.

The hosts held sway over the proceedings and steered clear of rushing through their attacking moves (like they did against Korea) – instead spraying the passes around and essayed calculated raids at the Argentinean citadel.

Ramandeep Singh, who has been a bit of a disappointment in the tournament until now, made the first dent on the scoresheet slamming home a rasping shot from the right.

Amit Rohidas converted a penalty corner as India sold a dummy as Gurjinder Singh did not take it despite being present during the SC routine as the home side made the scoreline 2-0.

Ramandeep Singh once again exuded some individual brilliance scoring a superb field goal from the right just before half-time to give a 3-0 cushion.

The Las Leonas reduced the margin through Lucas Martinez in the second half before Indian extended the lead through Gurjinder Singh – the drag-flicker scoring his fifth goal of the World Cup.

The South Americans scored another solace goal through Lautaro Diaz at the death before India held on for a comprehensive win.

Earlier, defending champions Germany edged out Australia 4-3 to set up a semifinal meet-up with 2009 runners-up Netherlands. France, who stunned Belgium 5-4, will face Malaysia in the other semifinal. Malaysia put it across Korea 2-1.

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