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Hockey: India suffer their first defeat on Argentina tour

Prime Sports, International (Buenos Aires), April 14:- After a superb show in the FIH Hockey Pro League where India defeated Olympic champions Argentina in both the matches, the hosts finally tasted victory handing visiting Indians their first loss of the tour in the third practice match on Tuesday. Lucas Toscani scored the all-important goal.

On a day when Argentina’s defence seemed impregnable, Toscani’s eighth-minute strike sealed India’s fate.

Though India made a positive start with forwards Lalit Upadhyay and Rajkumar Pal making deep forays into rival territory, a chastened Argentine defence following their 0-3 drubbing in the second Pro League match, staved off the attacks confidently.

Argentina’s forward-line set up a structured attack that earned them an early breakthrough, with Toscani scoring in the eighth minute.

Indian forwards, Shilanand Lakra and Mandeep Singh created a few scoring opportunities but could not beat the experienced Argentine goalkeeper Juan Manuel Vivaldi.

The second quarter saw some brave saves from young India goalkeeper Krishan Pathak, who had stood rock-solid in the second Pro League match on Monday.

In the early minutes of the third quarter, India created a fine opportunity when defender Surender Kumar earned the visitors their first penalty corner of the match, but the Indian drag-flickers failed to convert the chance.

The final quarter was a battle of nerves with India pushing for the elusive goal. Even as young strikers Dilpreet Singh, Shilanand and Mandeep took turns to attempt shots on goal, Argentina goalkeeper Vivaldi stood firm.

India will play their fourth practice match on Wednesday. (MR, Inputs: Agencies)

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