Experienced Argentina 'B' beat Indian Women's Hockey team 3-2 in a thriller
Young forward Salima Tete (6') and drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur (42') score for India
Indian Women's Hockey Team went down fighting against a dominant Argentina 'B' in a thrilling encounter. Despite a late surge by India, the home team secured a 3-2 win. For Argentina 'B' goals were scored by Sol Pagela (25'), Constanza Cerundolo (38') and Agustina Gorzelany (39') while for India Salima Tete (6') and Gurjit Kaur (42') scored.
In the first quarter, it was India who got off to a flying start winning a PC in the first minute. An intentional foul by Argentina while defending the PC led to the visiting side being awarded a penalty stroke. Unfortunately for India, the goal was saved. Without letting this missed opportunity slow their rhythm, the Indian team struck in the 6th minute through young Salima Tete who has been in good nick this tour.
"We had a very good start to the match and though we couldn't score off the penalty stroke, we were able to convert after a good interception in the 6th minute. In the first quarter, we were in control and kept a check on Argentina but the second quarter, they upped their game," explained Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne.
A slump in India's defence in the second quarter was well-capitalized by the experienced home team. Sol Pagela's 25th minute goal equalized the scoreline to 1-1. But the game tilted in their favour when India gave away two goals in the 38th and 39th minute. "I believe these two goals could have been stopped. We had restricted their circle entries to just 5 in this quarter but allowed them to convert twice in those five attempts. Though Gurjit scored in the following minutes to reduce the lead by one goal, we missed some good scoring opportunities thereafter. I feel we were a bit too rushed in our pursuit to convert. We must do much better to win from Argentina in the next following matches," stated Marijne.
Playing the Argentina Tour after covid-19 restrictions kept the Indian team out of competition for a year, the Indian Team has tested their core group in the past four matches where they secured two draws (2-2,1-1) and suffered two narrow loss (1-2 and 2-3). In their upcoming matches this week, the Indian side led by Rani will face the formidable World No.2 squad. "In the third and fourth matches, Argentina played with an experienced side that had recently won against Australia 'A' and this was a perfect platform for our players to adapt to their level. In these four matches, all the players in the Indian core group got a chance to show their best. In the upcoming four matches we will field our best side to see what we can create against the World No.2 team. There have been good learnings from these four matches, and I want to see how our main team performs against them," he said.
India will take on World No.2 Argentina on 27th January 2021 at 0400 hours IST.