FIH Women’s Pro League: India loses to Argentina in five-goal thriller

India squanders a one-goal lead; Salima Tete and Deep Grace Ekka score for India in the second match of the double header.

Published : Jun 19, 2022 20:10 IST , Rotterdam

India grabbed an early lead but trailed Argentina for the best part of the game. - HOCKEY INDIA
India grabbed an early lead but trailed Argentina for the best part of the game. - HOCKEY INDIA

India grabbed an early lead but trailed Argentina for the best part of the game. - HOCKEY INDIA

India squandered a one-goal lead to lose 2-3 to Argentina in the second match of the double-leg FIH Women’s Pro League tie here on Sunday.

Argentina won the FIH Pro League crown, finishing with 42 points from 16 games, 10 clear of second placed Netherlands, which still has two games remaining. The Indians continued to occupy the third position in the standings in their debut season, with 24 points from 12 games.

In the first match on Saturday, the Indians had stunned Argentina 2-1 in the shootout after a 3-3 stalemate in regulation time.

Riding high on confidence, the Indians continued in the same vein and put pressure on the Argentine defence early on. Early on, they were brilliant in attack and defence. In the opening two quarters as the Savita Punia-led defence thwarted a number of Argentine attacks. The two teams fought tooth and nail in the first quarter but failed to break the deadlock.

In the lead

India broke the stalemate in the 23rd minute, scoring through a counter-attack, with Salima Tete cutting through the Argentine defence before taking a shot that deflected in off opposition goalkeeper Belen Succi’s stick. Three minutes later, custodian Savita made a fine save to keep her side’s lead intact. A cross from the left found Julieta Jankunas in space and she tried to tap the ball in, but Savita changed directions quickly to make a terrific save.

Thereafter, Argentina had three shots on goal but failed to get past Savita.

  • Argentina 3 (Thome 38’, Trinchinetti 41’, Gorzelany 43’) India 2 (Tete 23’, Deep Grace Ekka 48’)

After the change of ends, Argentina came out attacking and controlled the game for a major part of the third quarter. The Indians struggled to match the pace of the Argentina players and play was mostly centred inside the Indian half.

In the 37th minute, Savita once again came to her side’s rescue by denying Jankunas from close range. But Argentina was not to be denied as a minute later, Delfine Thome looped the ball over a stretched Savita after she was set up by Sofia Toccalino’s brilliant run from the right flank.

Salima Tete gave India the lead in the 23rd minute. - HOCKEY INDIA

India soon secured a penalty corner but Udita wasted the chance.

Quick goals

Argentina then scored twice in a span of three minutes from two penalty corners to take a 3-1 lead.

Eugenia Trinchinetti first scored from a fantastic variation in the 41st minute and then, two minutes later, Agustina Gorzelany, who scored a hat-trick in the last match, sounded the board from another set piece.

But India was no mood to give up without a fight. Three minutes later, Deep Grace Ekka scored from a penalty corner with a fierce slap shot to reduce the margin to 2-3. The Indians played their hearts out till the final hooter and in the 55th minute, Vandana Katariya came close to restoring parity from a counter-attack but her reverse hit was saved by Succi.

India will next play USA on June 21 and 22.

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