Sunday, December 7, 2014

India lose 2-4 to Argentina

This piece was published in Sportskeeda
A late-goal defeat can often deeply hurt a team’s morale. Clearly, the Indian team needed to get that ‘late goal’ monkey off their backs when they took on higher-ranked Argentina in their second Champions Trophy game at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar on Sunday.

The ninth ranked Indians dished out another fighting performance, but Argentina exuded plenty of resurgence to score two final quarter goals to script a 4-2 win. The blue-and-white brigade first struck through Agustine Mazzilli and Joaquin Menine struck with a minute left for the final hooter even as the home crowd was left disappointed.

This was India’s second defeat to Argentina in the Champions Trophy – ironically Argentina had won their only previous clash at the 2003 edition by an identical 4-2 margin.

The home side showed promise upfront with SV Sunil getting himself into a good position only to see his deflection well saved by Argentinean goalkeeper Vivaldi.
The home side were under a bit pressure in the early period of the second quarter when Argentina forced their first penalty corner when Raghunath carried the ball inside his own’ D’. Much to the relief of India, Argentina’s drag-flick expert Gonzalo Peillat could not take his flick as the ball was not stopped properly.

India showed more urgency in their attacks, using both flanks to penetrate the Argentinean defence. Gurbaj Singh essayed a superb run on the right and worked his way from the baseline, but was thwarted by Vivaldi.

India looked more pumped up as the match wore on. The combo of Akashdeep Singh and Kothajit Singh set up a nice move for Ramandeep Singh, whose deflection came into the way of Vivaldi.

The persistence of India reaped dividends when Akashdeep Singh put the home side ahead in the 29th minute off a drill-in by Gurjinder Singh from outside the striking circle. Hardly had India celebrated the goal, Argentina responded through Lucas Villa, who was playing his 150th international as both teams went into half-time with the 1-1 scoreline.

India regained the lead in the third quarter when Gurjinder Singh fired home his team’s first penalty corner in the 37th minute. Like the opening half, Argentina hit back almost immediately with Juan Lopex slamming a high ball beating Sreejesh all ends up in the 38th minute.

India were left frustrated when Gurjinder Singh’s rebound conversion of the team’s penalty corner was denied by the video umpire in the closing stages of the third quarter. Argentina rubbed salt to India’s wounds struck twice in the fourth quarter to glean full points.

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