Valencia (Spain), July 2 (IANS) India staged a dramatic comeback by scoring two goals in the final quarter to hold Argentina 3-3 in the Six-Nations Invitational Hockey Tournament 2016 here on Saturday.
For India, Rupinder Pal Singh scored in the 16th minute followed by Ramandeep Singh in the 47th and Devindar Walmiki scored the equaliser in the 57th.
An exciting first half started off slowly as Argentina took control of the ball early in the first quarter, trying to carve inroads into the Indian defence. The opening goal came seconds before the hooter, captain Matias Paredes netting it to give Argentina the lead going into the break.
Virtually from the restart, India carved the Argentina defence open with a sweeping move that ended with Ramandeep fouled at the goal mouth with only the goalkeeper to beat. India were awarded a stroke, which Rupinder subsequently scored to draw the teams level.
Argentina hit back soon, though, first through a penalty corner conversion by Gonzalo Peillat and then via Lucas Vila’s field goal. Argentina went into half-time with a 3-1 lead in the game.
India rallied together in the second half and came out stronger, taking control of the midfield and not allowing Argentina possession in the centre of the park. Despite the early pressure, though, their final pass wasn’t enough to break down the Argentina defence.
India had their first penalty corner in the final minutes of the third quarter, but Rupinder’s high flick was saved by the Argentine goalkeeper to ensure they went into the final break with their two-goal lead intact.
In the final quarter, India started off, again in control, pushing the ball quickly within their ranks and causing Argentina problems in their circle. This time, they made the pressure count.
After an exchange of passes on the right wing, the ball dropped to Danish Mujtaba in the circle. Under pressure, Danish managed to get the ball away towards Ramandeep, whose tap-in cut the gap to one.
Galvanised by the goal, India threw on a slew of attackers and soon the trio of Ramandeep, Sunil and Akashdeep were causing Argentina problems in defence.
Soon the pressure told, Devindar closed in behind the Argentina defence, to score a superb goal in the 57th minute to draw the two teams level.
India next plays Spain in their final game on Sunday.