Mandeep Singh's goal helps India record dramatic 4-3 win over Argentina in FIH Hockey Pro League
Bhubaneswar, March 20, 2022
Amid nerve-wracking 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 the FIH Hockey Pro League at Kalinga Stadium here this evening.
For the winners, who led 2-0 at half time, the goalscorers 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 extracted sweet revenge.
With this, both the teams have played each other 12 times now 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 the 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 other's citadel but without any result. It took India 17 minutes to break the deadlock.
The hosts forced a penalty corner and Varun Kumar’s drag-flick was saved by the Argentine goalkeeper but, on the rebound, unmarked Hardik hit 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 a melee in the circle the 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 openings but striker Sumit failed to captalize on an easy chance as he fumbled while taking a shot at the Argentina goal.
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 jubilation lasted only a minute 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 another 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, an Argentina counter followed and Martin scored a superb goal to make it 3-3.
And just as it looked like the match may go into a penalty shootout, Mandeep deflected a long pass into the Argentina goal with 26 seconds left for the final hooter to earn India a 4-3 victory and full points, leaving their rivals crestfallen.