FIH Champions Trophy: India stun Olympic champions Argentina 2-1
India's 2-1 win over the South Americans makes a statement but more than that gives the Indians a momentum they have always lacked in a tournament
If the change of a coach has led to innovation and transformation, well, the victory over Olympic Champions Argentina heralds exactly that sentiment. India's 2-1 win over the South Americans makes a statement but more than that gives the Indians a momentum they have always lacked in a tournament. Rarely in a top notch tournament, has India had six points after two matches with the scalps being Pakistan and Argentina.
It was always going to be close. Argentina play a tight game and rely on penalty corners for their super-star Gonzalo Peillat to fire in. But today was different. India played the width of the pitch and used counters to surprise.
India score in 2nd quarter
Both the Indian goals came in the second quarter. Harmanpreet Singh stick-checked outside the Argentinian striking circle and the umpire didn't hesitate. Harman's flick was diagonal, India led 1-0.
But before that in the 1st quarter, Argentina had wasted a spate of three penalty corners; Sreejesh saving the third using his glove to good effect.
Argentina uses the long ball to good effect. But it was India who surprised with the aerial. Varun flicked the ball deep into Argentina territory where Dilpreet trapped, ran in and switched beautifully. The tap to Mandeep was low and slow but the Indian forward almost sat on the turf to nudge the ball towards the Argentinian goal. Down 0-2, the Olympic Champions looked stunned.
It seemed that India would walk into the break secure with a two goal lead but Argentina had their 4th PC with seconds on the clock. Peillat showed why he is the world's best with a flick that powered in like a rocket, the ball rising high into the net.
Sardar's 300th match
It was also sweet for India that the win came in Sardar's 300th international match and in a wonderful gesture, the team had given him the captain's arm-band. Harendra was, however, cautious. "It's an important win," he said. "But we still have big teams in front. Yes, the confidence will help the boys."
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