Azlan Shah Cup: Argentina end India's title hopes
Ipoh (Malaysia), May 30 (IANS) Five-time champions India's title hopes crashed as they went down 2-3 to Argentina in a crucial encounter of the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament here Wednesday.
India paid heavily for the failure of their strikers to convert the chances that came their way.
After a goalless first half, the Indian defence was caught napping as Matias Paredes (37th minute) and Santiago Montelli (38th) gave Argentina a 2-0 lead.
Gonzalo Peillat (58th) converted a penalty corner to ensure a win for the Pan American champions.
Indians fought hard to draw parity at 2-2 with goals from Sardar Singh (48th minute) and V.R. Raghunath (61st).
But the equalizer remained elusive despite a flurry of attacks in the last few minutes.
India have just six points having lost three of their five matches and will play for pride Thursday when they face Pakistan in their last league match.
Against Argentina, India were in a must win situation. They came close twice to score but failed to capitalise on the opportunities.
Drag-flicker Sandeep Singh squandered India's first penalty corner, which was deflected out by a defender.
In the attempt, Sandeep suffered a minor ankle sprain and was rested for a long period. But he will play against Pakistan.
In the second half, Argentina scored twice in the space of one minute, Paredes gained from Sandeep's defensive lapse and made the best use of a long diagonal pass by flicking it past the goalkeeper.
In the next minute, another error by the Indians, this time by skipper Sardar Singh, helped Argentina double their lead.
A miss-pass by Sardar found an unmarked Montelli, who took his time before sounding the board.
Down 0-2, India bounced back well with Sardar's reverse stick finding the net from the second penalty corner after Raghunath's drag-flick was saved by Argentine goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi.
Argentina again went ahead 3-1 ahead after Peillat fired in a low penalty corner shot. India reduced the margin after Raghunath scored with a rising drag-flick with nine minutes left for the hooter.
Read More: Argentina | Raghunath Pura | Khirya Nagar Shah | Ten Shah Aimabad | Shah | Korari Gidhar Shah | Korari Hir Shah | Sardar Nagar Ghat Bo | Nizamudinpur Shah | Sardar Nagar | Shah Mohiuddinpur | Pipal Shah | Raghunath Pur Piparpatti | Sardar Singh Ki Dhani | Sardar Krishinagar | Raghunath Nagar | Bidar Shah Gunj Ndtso | Raghunath Chak Bo | Raghunath Pur | Shah Alam Nagar
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