Harpal Singh Bedi
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.