Indian men’s hockey team managed to hold Argentina to a thrilling 3-3 draw in the six-nation Invitational tournament during their penultimate round-robin match in Valencia on Saturday.
The first half started off slowly before Argentina took control of the ball in the first quarter, trying to carve inroads into the Indian defence.
The opening goal of the match came just seconds before the hooter as Matias Paredes netted the ball to give Argentina the lead going into the break.
India then carved the Argentina defence open with a sweeping move, that ended with Ramandeep fouling at the goalmouth with only the goalkeeper to beat. India were awarded a stroke, and Rupinder Pal Singh converted it into a goal in the 16th minute to draw level.
However, Argentina soon hit back, first through a penalty corner conversion by Gonzalo Peillat and then via Lucas Vila’s field goal, going into the halftime with a 3-1 lead.
India rallied together in the second half and came out stronger, taking control of the midfield and not allowing Argentina possession in the centre of the park.
India earned their first penalty corner in the final minutes of the third quarter, but Rupinder Pal Singh’s high flick was saved by the Argentine goalkeeper to ensure that they went into the final break with a two-goal lead intact.
In the final quarter, India again took control, pushing the ball quickly within their ranks and causing Argentina problems in their circle.
This time, the Indians made it count. After an exchange of passes on the right wing, the ball dropped to Danish Mujtaba in the circle. And under pressure, Danish got the ball away towards Ramandeep, whose tap in cut the gap to one.
Galvanised by the goal, India threw on a slew of attackers and soon the trio of Ramandeep, Sunil and Akashdeep started causing trouble for the Argentina defence.
Devindar closed in behind the Argentina defence and scored a superb goal in the 57th minute to level the scores 3-3.
Minutes later, Argentina got a penalty corner but Sreejesh denied a goal.
In the last minutes of the match, India pushed hard but Argentina’s defence held on to ensure that the teams split the honours.
India will take on Spain in their final game