Published: Sat, December 09, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Argentina outwit India in semis

Argentina outwit India in semis

The ongoing HWL Final is Asian champion India's biggest tournament before next year's Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast and coach Sjoerd Marijne and his men would be eager to make the most out of the opportunity with a morale-boosting result in their favour.

Argentina coach Carlos Retegui lashed out at the worldwide hockey federation (FIH) over the scheduling of the Hockey World League Final, saying his side was forced to play too many games in a short span of time as compared to some other teams. India now play for 3rd and 4th on tomorrow and they would like to repeat the Raipur bronze medal again. The South Americans, however, stepped up a gear in the second quarter and took the lead through Gonzalo Peillat who converted a penalty corner in the 18th minute. India went for referral but the video referee could not find any conclusive evidence to overturn the decision. The ball was not travelling quickly, the players were slipping and the passes were going haywire. SV Sunil had the chance, one either side of the flank, to break free but on a soaked pitch, quick feet weren't of any help. Peillat made the difference with a superb drag-flick to the left of Indian goalie Akash Chikte, crashing the ball into the side-netting. Argentina did push in the first two quarters and India struggled with the conditions. The rejuvenated Indian team were the only ones who beat the Argentines at the Rio Olympics.

The PC was rewarded when Rupinder Pal Singh abstracted the Argentina forward from the back.

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The fourth quarter was the opposite. They did have possession in the last quarter and virtually camped in the Argentine striking circle. India did get two great chances but on both occasions, goalkeeper Agustin Abratte denied them the equalizer.

The last ten minutes of the game saw repeated and aggressive attempts from India with Akashdeep and Gurjant Singh hitting the ball at the goalpost in the 51 and 52 minutes of the game.

They nearly paid for that decision when captain Matias Pardes hit the side net in front of an open goal after receiving a high ball. The victor came from the stick of star striker Hockey Stars Male Player of the Year 2017 nominee Mirco Pruijser, who beat Hockey Stars Goalkeeper of the Year nominee George Pinner - who made his 100th appearance for England in the contest - with a third quarter field goal.

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