After a thrilling shoot-out in the first match, the Indian men’s hockey team recorded a comprehensive 3-0 triumph over reigning Olympic champions Argentina in their second FIH Hockey Pro League meeting in Buenos Aires on Sunday.
Goals from Harmanpreet Singh, Lalit Upadhyay and Mandeep Singh gave the visitors a deserved triumph over Los Leones, adding three more points to the two they claimed against the hosts in Saturday’s 2-2 draw and subsequent victory in the shoot-out, which earned them a bonus point.
It was a tremendous result for India, who have climbed up to fourth place in the FIH Hockey Pro League standings, moving one point ahead of Australia having played the same number of games. India, Argentina and Australia will play against each other at the forthcoming Olympic Games, where they have been drawn into Pool A alongside Spain, New Zealand and home favourites Japan. Argentina sit sixth in the FIH Hockey Pro League standings, with 11 points from 12 games.
Argentina started brightly and would have been ahead were it not for some excellent saves from India goalkeeper Krishan Pathak, who twice denied Martin Ferreiro before Harmanpreet Singh converted India’s first penalty corner chance of the game in the 11th minute.
Lalit doubled India’s advantage when he showed lightning quick reactions in the second quarter, pouncing on a save from Argentina custodian Juan Vivaldi to slot home, giving the visitors a deserved reward after a lengthy period of probing possession.
The result was confirmed two minutes from the end of the contest when Mandeep Singh fired home from close range, losing his footing but keeping his composure to guide an backhand effort into the net.
“I think we defended well”, said India goalkeeper Pathak, who was named Player of the Match. “They are good in defence but we created a lot of chances. We scored the goals, so that is good for us. We have to work on a lot of things, in defence but in midfield also. We have to learn from this match. Today we did a lot of good things, but we still have to work [to do].”
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