India avenged thir loss semifinal loss at the 2017 Hockey World League Final in December with a 2-1 win over Olympic champions Argentina in the second game of the Champions Trophy. This is India’s second game and second win of the tournament after beating Pakistan on Saturday. Goals from Harmanpreet Singh (17′) and Mandeep Singh (28’) had India in the lead before Gonzalo Peillat (30′) reduced the deficit. The win ensures India maintain their place at the top of the Champions Trophy.
Both teams came into the contest on the back of wins on the opening, India over Pakistan and Argentina over Netherlands. There was little to separate the two teams in the first quarter with defence being stretched on either ends. Stick check by Jarmanpreet Singh while tackling Matias Paredes saw India concede the first penalty corner. That count turned into three following Harmanpreet’s brave defending as an onrushing player. Eventually, Argentina failed to score and ended the first quarter in a stalemate.
Two minutes into the second quarter, India scored the opener when a deliberate foul by Maico Casella while tackling Harmanpreet Singh fetched India their first PC. Perfect inkection by Sardar Singh, playing his 300th game, was further improvised by Harmanpreet who kept it low and powerful to beat the keeper. The 1-0 lead in the 17th minute aided India forward and surge to get a second. India doubled their advantage in the 28th minute when a brilliant aerial pass was perfectly picked up by Dilpreet Singh who cautiously played it across the face of goal to Mandeep Singh who made no mistake in deflecting it past the Argentine goalkeeper.
Argentina reduced the deficit immediately with a strong attack, as they forced an error to win a PC in the 30th minute. Peillat thundered a fierce hit in the corner of the goal to beat PR Sreejesh.
With Argentina narrowing India’s lead to 2-1, India progressed cautiously, maintaing their line and structure while the defence ensured no vacant space for Argentina to create openings. Peillat fired wide from a PC as India breathed easy. India looked to have found another before the end of the third quarter when Dilpreet, Mandeep and Lalit Upadhyay were all denied by goalkeeper Tomas Santiago.
Fourth quarter proved to be another tense affair and it helped that India kept the ball tight and didn’t stay back to defend while also going forward. With five minutes to play, India were reduced to ten players with Birendra Lakra getting a yellow card. But India didn’t let the man advantage for Argentina count and held on to win 2-1.