Mandeep Singh’s goal helps India record dramatic 4-3 win over Argentina in FIH Hockey Pro League

Harpal Singh Bedi

Representative Photo: Mandeep Singh celebrates a goal. COPYRIGHT WORLDSPORTPICS FRANK UIJLENBROEK

Bhubaneswar: Amid nerve wrecking tension and high drama  Mandeep Singh scored in the dying moments of the game to enable India overpower Argentina 4-3 in the  second leg match of its FIH Hockey Pro League at Kalinga Stadium here this evening

For the winners, who led 2-0 at half time, the  goal scorers were  Hardik Singh (17th) Jugraj Singh (20th,52nd) and Mandeep Singh (60th) .

Della Torre Nicolas (40th), Domene Tomas (51st) and Ferreiro Martin (56th) scored a goal each for the losers.

On Saturday India had lost to Argentina in the penalty shootout 1-3 after being levelled 2-2 at regulation period and this evening  the Hosts took the sweet revenge piping the Latin Americans .

With this both the teams have played each other 12 times and  have a five wins each to their credit with two matches ending in a draw

India remains at second spot in the league standings with 16 points from eight matches, behind Netherlands. Argentina also stayed put at fourth spot with 11 points from six matches

The match opened on a fast note with the teams attacking each others citadel but without any result. It took India 17 minutes to break the deadlock

The hosts forced a penalty corner but  on the rebound  Varun Kumar’s drag-flick was saved by the Argentine goalkeeper but  on the rebound unmarked Hardik  crashed  the ball home (1-0).

Three minutes later, captain Amit Rohidas   was  obstructed by an Argentina defender resulting in  a penalty corner  and this time Jugraj   with a powerful drag flick beat the goalkeeper all ends up (2-0).

Rattled by two quick  goals the Latin Americans  launched a  furious  counter  attack and  due to melee in the circle referee awarded them a penalty stroke but the decision was reversed after India took a review.

Ten minutes into the  second session the visitors reduced the lead  through Nicolas who converted  a penalty corner (1-2).

The hosts regrouped themselves and created  few opening but  striker Sumit  wasted a failed to captalize on a easy chance as he fumbled while taking a shot at Argentina goal .

However the last 15-minutes of the game turned out to be an edge of the seat affair as it produced four goals. Tomas drew parity for the visitors converting a penalty stroke (2-2)  .

Argentina’s  jubilations lasted only  a minutes as the hosts  took the lead again with Jugraj   converting another penalty corner  as his drag flick hit the roof of the net (3-2).

Jugraj then converted another3-3  penalty corner but the decision was reversed after an Argentina review. It was ruled that the ball had not crossed the circle before Jugraj took the shot.

Next minute  Argentina  counter  followed  and Martin  scored a superb goal  to make it 3-3

And as it looked that match may go into penalty shootout, Mandeep deflected a long pass into Argentina goal with 26 seconds left for the final hooter  to earn India 4-3 victory and full points,  leaving their rivals crestfallen.


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