India slump to second straight defeat, lose 2-4 to Argentina

India slump to second straight defeat, lose 2-4 to Argentina

India squandered their hard-earned lead on two occasions as they slumped to their second successive defeat losing 2-4 to World Cup bronze medallists Argentina in the Hero Champions Trophy, here today.

India's perennial problem, their fragile backline came to hurt them again as their lead didn't even last a minute on both the occasions in the second Pool B match of the day, played in-front of 7000 strong capacity crowd at the Kalinga Stadium.

For India, Akashdeep Singh (30th) and Gurjinder Singh (30th) scored the goals, while Lucas Villa (30th), Juan Lopez (37th), Gustin Mazzilli (49th) and Joaquin Menini found the net for the winners.

While Indian forwards created chances today, the defence were chasing shadows on a number occasions when the Argentines counter-attacked.

Today's loss was India's second on the trot in the tournament after the close 0-1 defeat against Olympic champions Germany yesterday.

India will face the Netherlands in their last pool match on Tuesday, which will decide their quarterfinal opponent, while Argentina will be up against Germany.

It was end-to-end hockey in the first quarter but goals eluded both the teams.
India had the first clear chance in the 8th minute but wasted it. It was a great opening down the right from a counter-attack but Nikkim Thimmaiah over ran Lalit Upadhay's defence splitting diagonal ball.

Minutes later Indian goalie PR Sreejesh came to the picture, when he easily gloved away Juan Lopez's shot.

Argentina got their first penalty corner in the 16th minute but it went in vain as they failed to stop the push.

Indian players looked a little out of sorts in the first quarter and were found wanting in front of the opposition striking circle.

The Indians managed to take the ball near the Argentine circle on many occasions but instead of trying to get in, they depended more on hits from outside hoping for somebody to get a deflection.

Five minutes into the second quarter skipper Saradar Singh and Dharamvir Singh combined well on the right flank to get inside the circle but latter's cross had no takers.

India's best scoring opportunity came in the 22nd minute when Kothajit Singh's pass from outside the circle found Lalit but his deflection hit the upright.

Then VR Raghunath was guilty of being selfish as after doing all the hard work to get inside the circle he went for glory and struck straight at Argentine goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi instead of passing the ball.

India, finally broke the deadlock a minute from halftime through Akashdeep who found himself in the right place at the right time to tap in Gurjinder diagonal pass.
The hosts' lead was shortlived as Argentina levelled the scores, seconds later in exactly the same way as  Villa made no mistake in deflecting a diagonal ball into the net with both teams locked 1-1 at the breather.

Eight minutes into the third quarter, India restored their lead when Gurjinder scored from the hosts' first penalty corner with a powerful high dragflick.

But once again the Indians gave away their lead in no time, courtesy its fragile backline. A hit from outside the circle got deflected from Rupinder's stick and landed high in front of an unmarked Lopez, who hooked the ball into the net to restore parity for his side.

The repeated counter-attacks by the Argentines completely dismantled the Indian citadel during 3rd quarter.

A few minutes later, Gurjinder found the back of the net again from a penalty corner but his goal was disallowed for dangerous play after Argentina went for the referral.
Mazilli's strike in the 49th minute then put immense pressure on India to equalise but they failed find to find a reply.

Instead, Menini added insult to India's injury, when he pumped in another goal another to seal the match in Argentina’s favour.

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