India Captain Harmanpreet Singh (33′), Amit Rohidas (39′) and Abhishek (59′) scored in India’s win
After a disappointing performance against hosts Netherlands last night, India’s men’s hockey team bounced back on Thursday with a convincing 3-0 win against Argentina here in the ongoing 2022-23 FIH Hockey Pro League. It was India Skipper Harmanpreet Singh (33′), Amit Rohidas (39′) and Abhishek (59′) who scored in India’s victory, while goalkeepers PR Sreejesh and Krishan Pathak took turns keeping a clean sheet. With this victory, India is ahead of Great Britain in the group with 27 points from 14 games.
At the start of the first quarter, Argentina looked more aggressive both on and off the ball. They forced India to make mistakes while defending in the D, resulting in a PC as early as 3rd minute, but couldn’t capitalize on the chance. India taking possession broke out in a quick counter-attack with striker Abhishek taking a powerful shot but the ball hit the post. Argentina continued to be dangerous in their attack but India’s defense held their own with veteran goalkeeper PR Sreejesh making some superb saves.
With neither team scoring a goal in the first quarter, the second quarter began with India getting off to a positive start and turning up the pressure. Young strikers Karthi Selvam, Abhishek and Sukhjeet Singh took turns creating opportunities for field goals but to no avail, as Argentina kept Krishan Pathak busy at the post. They made some strong forays into the circle, but Pathak continued to make some sharp saves.
Less than three minutes into the third quarter, India earned its first PC of the game, thanks to Mandeep Singh. After losing the reference seconds ago, the team wanted to make a statement and they did just that with Harmanpreet Singh performing a perfect drag flick to score. This brought his tally of personal goals this season to 18.
In the 39th minute, Amit Rohidas increased the lead to 2 – 0 with a beautifully converted PC. It was Abhishek who won the PC giving India a chance to double their lead. With about three minutes left in the quarter, Mandeep Singh took a deadly shot at goal, giving his team hopes for a third goal, but Santiago made a fine save to deny Mandeep his 100th international goal.
The game continued to captivate spectators as the fourth quarter unfolded. India counter-attacked their brilliance after Argentina suffered the loss of possession in the 48th minute. It was a 2v3 dribble, but India provided a good defense to prevent Argentina from finding the goal. While Argentina pressed for that elusive goal, India remained undaunted and managed to score a third goal through another fine counter-attack. It was Vivek Sagar Prasad who made a clear run on goal as the Argentina goalkeeper charged at him, making a selfless pass to Abhishek who threw the ball into an unguarded net to seal a 3-0 victory for India.
Next, India will play hosts Netherlands on June 10 in their second game against them.
Report – Pratyusha Mukherjee
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