Home > Sports > Hockey > Champions Trophy 2003 > Report
India wake up too late against Argentina
Ivan Crasto |
August 20, 2003 21:28 IST
Last Updated: August 20, 2003 23:18 IST
India will have to wait for another year at least to entertain hopes of winning the Champions Trophy, or even bettering their best finish of a third place in the elite six-nation hockey tournament.
At the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen, near Amsterdam, on Wednesday, they suffered their third defeat in four matches, losing 2-4 to Argentina and bowing out of the reckoning for the medals. With just three points and a match against Pakistan left, the team can at best hope to finish above the cellar.
Argentina, with their second victory from three matches, can now look forward to finishing among the top three. They play the Netherlands and Australia, and can hope to better their best showing in the tournament -- a fifth place, achieved in Amstelveen itself in 1987, the only year eight teams took part.
Indeed, the South Americans proved that their triumph in the Pan American Games, which earned them qualification to the Athens Olympics, was no fluke as they adopted their brand of hit-and-run hockey to exploit the yawning gaps in the Indian defence.
After Jorge Lombi pushed wide their first penalty corner in the 15th minute, Argentina scored off their second, which followed two minutes later, Lombi making no mistake this time with a low flick to the left of goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan.
Argentina increased the lead in the 23rd minute when Matias Vila, after receiving a diagonal from Carlos Retegui, rounded off an advancing Chauhan to score.
Two goals down, the Indians pulled up their socks and took the fight to the Argentines. Suddenly there was a spring in their attack as the young trio of Prabhjot Singh, Deepak Thakur and Gagan Ajit Singh did some hard running into the Argentinian circle. They were rewarded for their efforts in the 29th minute when midfielder Ignace Tirkey intelligently laid a long through into the circle for Thakur to deflect into goal.
But India fell further behind within three minutes of the second session when the Argentines split the defence with a quick passing bout down the middle between Tomas MacCormick, Matias Parades and Mario Almada, the last-named neatly flicking the ball over a diving Chauhan.
Then Lombi scored his second goal of the match and sixth of the tournament from Argentina's third penalty corner to make it 4-1 by the 42nd minute.
Not to be humiliated, the Indians regrouped. For the first time in the match they looked purposeful and displayed a sense of urgency not witnessed in any of their earlier matches. Bimal Lakra and Ignace Tirkey took control of the midfield and repeatedly drilled long hits into the Argentinian circle. The ploy had its effect as Prabhjot Singh and Deepak Thakur kept the Argentinian defenders guessing with threatening runs.
In the 48th minute, the sustained pressure bore fruit as Baljit Dhillon pulled one back, deflecting home a long hit from outside the circle by Bimal Lakra.
In the last ten minutes the Indians pressed hard in an attempt to salvage some pride. Prabhjot, Dhanraj Pillay and Thakur had close looks at the Argentinian goal, but were unable to convert their chances.
Argentina 4 (Jorge Lombi 2, Matias Vila, Mario Almada) beat India 2 (Deepak Thakur, Baljit Singh Dhillon)