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Johor Cup hockey: Ramandeep's brace helps India beat Argentina

September 23, 2013 19:15 IST

India rode on Ramandeep Singh's brace to beat Argentina 3-2 and register their second consecutive victory in the Sultan of Johor Cup Under-21 hockey tournament, in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, on Monday.

India trailed for a large part of the match, but Ramandeep (60th, 62nd minute) found his scoring touch when it mattered most and scored two field goals in final 10 minutes to turn the game India’s way.

Vice-captain Affan Yousuf (23rd minute) was India's other scorer, while Isidoro Carlos Ibarra (16th, 42nd minute) scored for the mighty Argentines.

The Sultan of Johor CupWith two wins from as many games, India consolidated its position in the league standings alongside arch-rivals Pakistan on six points apiece.

India had defeated England 2-1 in their tournament-opener on Sunday.

Argentina, on the other hand, slumped to their second straight defeat, having lost 2-4 to hosts Malaysia on Sunday.

Despite the victory, it was a poor performance by the Indians, who seemed lost in midfield and lacked firepower and sting upfront.

Argentina drew first blood in the 16th minute when Ibarra converted a penalty-corner with precision that beat Indian custodian Harlot Singh all ends up.

But the South Americans’ joy was shortlived as India drew parity seven minutes later when Affan Yusof scored with a reverse hit after some slick stickwork in the semi-circle.

Argentina restored their lead seven minutes into the second half from a penalty stroke, which was awarded after Ibarra's flick from the Pan American champion's second penalty-corner hit Indian skipper Manpreet Singh on the foot.

Ibarra stepped up to take the stroke and made no mistake from the spot to hand Argentina a 2-1 lead.

Thereafter, the Indians toiled for goals but their fowardline continued to disappoint.

Luck finally smiled on the Indians in the 60th minute when Ramandeep levelled the score from a goal-mouth melee with the ball bouncing off the Argentina ‘keeper's pads into the net.

Two minutes later, Ramdeep was again in the thick of things as he cleverly deflected the ball home at the far post for the match-winner.

After a rest day, India plays arch-rivals Pakistan in their next round-robin match on Wednesday.