Breda, June 24: India defeated Argentina 2-1 to register their second consecutive victory in the Champions Trophy hockey tournament here on Sunday.
Harmanpreet Singh gave India the lead off a penalty corner in the 17th minute before Mandeep Singh (28th minute) doubled the advantage with a field goal.
Gonzalo Peillat powered home a penalty in the 30th minute to reduce the margin for Argentina.
Coming into their second round robin match after comfortable wins on the opening day, both teams played out an exciting first quarter.
Argentina stretched the Indian defence early on as they made potential frays into the striking circle. A stick check by Jarmanpreet Singh while tackling Matias Paredes in the striking circle saw India concede a penalty corner.
However, excellent defending kept Argentina’s ace dragflicker Gonzalo Peillat from scoring, ending the first quarter in a stalemate.
Two minutes into the second quarter, India drew first blood when a deliberate foul by Maico Casella while tackling Harmanpreet fetched India their first penalty corner of the match.
A perfect injection by Sardar Singh was further improvised by Harmanpreet who kept it low as he used a powerful flick to sound the board.
The lead gave India the momentum to put pressure on the Olympic champions. India stretched the lead when a brilliant overhead pass was perfectly picked up by young Dilpreet Singh who cautiously maneuvered to play it across to Mandeep Singh who made no mistake in deflecting it past the Argentine goalkeeper.
The Olympic champions bounced back immediately with a strong attack, as they forced an error to win a penalty corner in the 30th minute. Peillat was absolutely impressive when he found the top corner of the net to beat Indian goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh.
With Argentina narrowing the deficit, India treaded cautiously, maintaining their structure while their defence ensured that they left no space for the Argentine forwards to create opportunities.
The fourth quarter was tense with India looking to pull off something similar to the match against Pakistan where they scored three goals in the final 15 minutes.
India however kept the ball tight and looked for an opening. With five minutes left, India were reduced to 10 players with Birendra Lakra getting a yellow card. It was an absolutely tense final few minutes as India held on to the lead. ians