Eindhoven: A superb second-half performance during which skipper Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas and Abhishek scored a goal apiece helped India defeat Argentina 3-0 in the men’s FIH Hockey Pro League and climb back to the top of the points table.
India had slipped to the second spot after losing a couple of matches in London before coming back strongly to beat Belgium (5-1) and Great Britain 4-2 via a shoot-out. They started the Netherlands run with a 1-4 defeat here on Wednesday.
On Thursday, India held the advantage in the first half and created a few chances but could not score a goal.
Things turned in their favour as after a goalless first half, India earned their first penalty corner of the match in the third quarter with captain Harmanpreet Singh producing a powerful drag into the bottom right corner to finally break the deadlock.
With that, Harmanpreet extended his lead at the top of the scoring chart to nine goals, with 18 in the tournament so far.
Harmanpreet was on the bench when India were awarded their next penalty corner. The trap wasn’t a good one, but Amit Rohidas managed to pick up the bobbling ball nonetheless and drilled a great drag flick into the top left of the goal.
As the clock wound down at the end of the match, Argentina threw all their players forward to push for a goal. But they were caught on the counterattack, Vivek Prasad and Abishek finding themselves two-on-one with the keeper. Vivek laid off the pass to Abishek to tap it in and seal the 3-0 victory.
Skipper Harmanpreet Singh, who was named Player of the Match, credited their defence for the victory.
“I think we created so many chances but defensively, we defended very well as a team and the structure was playing very well so when we got the chance we scored that goal. Our focus was to keep the ball. Ball speed for us is very important so we kept the ball and let them run and once we got the good opportunities we went for it,” Harmanpreet Singh was quoted as saying by the FIH in a release.
The win took India to the top spot with 27 points from 14 matches, one ahead of Great Britain, who have played 12 matches so far. Spain (17 from 8 matches) are third with Australia (16 from 12 matches) and Argentina (13 from 13 matches) in fifth position.