India beat Argentina 2-1 in first hockey TestJanuary 19th, 2009 - 4:01 pm ICT by IANS
Mar del Plata (Argentina), Jan 19 (IANS) Deepak Thakur scored a brace as India beat Argentina 2-1 in the first hockey Test of the four-match series at the Panam National Stadium here.Thakur slotted goals in the 18th and 41st minute while Argentina pulled back one through Matias Paredes in the 65th minute of the match Sunday.
The hosts got their first penalty corner in the fourth minute but goalkeeper Baljit Singh foiled the dragflick of Juan Ignacio Gilardi.
India soon settled down with controlled midfield play from V.S Vinaya and Gurbaj Singh constantly setting up forwards Rajpal Singh, Tushar Khandekar and Prabhjot Singh.
India should have taken the lead in the seventh minute when Rajpal sent a sizzling cross to Thakur, but the striker’s deflection was well saved by Argentina goalkeeper Juan Manuel Vivaldi and off the rebound Thakur shot wide.
Argentina attempted numerous forays with rapid interchanges and overheads but they were superbly checked by veteran defender Dilip Tirkey.
India took the lead in the 18th minute with the forward line combining well. Prabhjot dodged past two Argentine defenders before the release to Thakur, who did not miss.
Argentina missed two chances to restore parity from penalty corners soon after as Pedro Ibarra’s flicks was saved by Baljit.
India earned their first penalty corner three minutes later, but new skipper Sandeep Singh could not beat Vivaldi with his power packed dragflick.
Argentina picked up pace in the second half and created spaces from their midfield.
India found the mark again after Sandeep sent an accurate slapshot into the Argentine circle where it was not controlled by Facundo Callioni. Thakur seized the opportunity and pushed past bewildered Vivaldi.
India conceded two more soft penalty corners as captain Sandeep was found wanting in his defensive tackles. However Argentina could not capitalise as Baljit again stood out.
Argentina continued with its uninterrupted attacks and reduced the margin in the 65th min as they converted a penalty corner deflection by Matias Paredes.