JR Hockey WC: India beat Argentina 4-2, to clash against Pak for 9th place
Ramandeep Singh scored two field goals to guide India to a comfortable 4-2 win over Argentina today and set up a mouth-watering clash against arch-rivals Pakistan in the 9th-10th place classification match at the Hero Junior Men's Hockey World Cup here.
Though he was late to rise to the occasion, Ramandeep (4th minute, 31st) showed his scoring prowess by scoring two fantastic field goals in the 9-12th place classification match at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
Apart from Ramdeep, the drag-flick specialists Amit Rohidas (7th) and Gurjinder Singh (40th) were the other goal-getters for the hosts. Argentina's goals came from the sticks of Lucas Martinz in the 38th minute and Lautaro Diaz in the 69th minute. India will now face neighbours Pakistan in the 9-10th place play-off match on Saturday.
Pakistan had defeated South Africa 4-0 in their 9-12th place classification match earlier in the day. Argentina will play South Africa in the 11th-12th place classification game on Saturday.
Out of the podium race, the Indians came out like wounded tigers and dominated the share of exchanges in the opening half. India controlled the proceeding from the word go and surged ahead in the fourth minute of the match through Ramandeep, who after receiving a through pass from Rohidas, dodged past an Argentine defender to score from the right corner of the circle.
Three minutes later, Rohidas doubled India's lead by converting the first penalty corner awarded to the hosts with a grounded flick. Argentina's best moments came in the middle of the opening period when they earned two back-to-back penalty corners but India's defence was up to the task to thwart any danger to their goal.
Ramandeep was once again at the thick of things when he scored a brilliant field goal in the 31st minute after dodging past three Argentine defenders to help India go into the breather with a three-goal cushion.
India were slow to get off the blocks after the crossover and Argentina were quick to utilise the moment by pulling one back three minutes into the second half. Martinez beautifully deflected in skipper Gonzalo Peillat's pass from the midfield to make the scoreline 3-1.
But it did not take India too long to restore their three-goal lead as Gurjinder converted a penalty corner soon. Argentina had their chances but lacked in execution as they wasted another penalty corner in the second half. India too wasted quite a few scoring opportunities, which included two more penalty corners, in the second half.
The scoreline could have been more convincing for the Indians but woodwork denied Malak Singh in the 63rd minute. Argentina managed to reduce the margin of defeat a minute from the hooter through Lautaro Diaz's field goal.
Meanwhile, in other classification encounters of the day, England thrashed Egypt 6-1, while Spain scrapped past Canada 3-2. England will lock horns with Spain in the 13-14th place play-off match while Egypt and Canada will square up to avoid the wooden spoon in the 16-team tournament.
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