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Argentina hold India in second hockey Test
December 10, 2008 17:24 IST
The forwards wasted chances galore as India, despite dominating the proceedings settled for a 1-1 draw with Argentina in the second match of the four-Test Under-21 hockey series at the Club Ciudad de Buenos Aires in Buenos Aires.
India dictated terms for most part of the match but could score only once through a solo by right winger Mandip Antil in the 44th minute.
Argentina, to their credit, waged a grim battle and reward came in the 61st minute when Santiago Montelli scored the equaliser from a penalty stroke.
The hosts began aggressively, trying to break the ice as their rivals took time to settle. They forced two penalty-corners in quick succession but while the first flick went wide, the second was well-intercepted by Indian custodian Mrinal Chaubey.
India soon got their bearings and mounted sorties with regularity. They dominated the midfield and created openings around Argentina's semi-circle with crafty interchanges and off-the-ball running. However, they failed to find the target, especially with the goalkeeper Ezequiel Olivero doing a good job under the bar.
A few attempts from forwards Danish Mujtaba, Jay Karan and Pramod Kumar missed the mark by inches. After his hat-trick in the first match, which the Indians won 3-2, a lot was expected from Diwakar Ram but the Indian captain was not on target either.
Diwakar got at least three opportunities to sound the board but twice he flicked wide and was foiled once.
After a goalless first-half, India continued their attacking mode and finally forged ahead when Mandip Antil was set up by central medio Vikas Sharma.
Antil, a robust Haryana lad, forced his way into the striking circle, beating three defenders, before unleashing a rasping shot to the left of Olivero.
India could have increased their tally but for failed deflections from flank cross-hits. Substitute Dharamvir Singh also missed a sitter to add to India's woes.
Argentina, however, stepped up the pace towards the final phase and was rewarded with a penalty stroke after Agustin Cabrera was deliberately obstructed in a goalmouth melee.
Santiago Montelli made no mistake from the spot.
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