NEW DELHI: The Indian men’s hockey team made a positive start to its tour of Argentina, beating the reigning Olympic champions 4-3 in the first practice match here.
Nilakanta Sharma (16th minute), Harmanpreet Singh (28th), Rupinder Pal Singh (33rd) and Varun Kumar (47th) were the goal scorers for India late on Tuesday night.
Dragflicker Leandro Tolini (35th, 53rd) and Maico Casella (41st) scored for the home team.
“It was a very good practice match, intensely fought by both teams. It is always nice to come up with a win against a team like Olympic Champions Argentina as it amplifies our confidence levels,” India coach Graham Reid said of the win.
Both teams were slow to get off the blocks in the first quarter, but it was India who picked up pace in the second quarter.
Shilanand Lakra was the creator of India’s first goal as his immaculate assist found Nilakanta inside the circle and the striker put the ball past Argentina’s goalkeeper to hand the visitors the lead.
India, thereafter, pushed the hosts on the backfoot with persistent attacks.
Argentina replied to India’s aggressive show by securing a penalty corner soon but experienced custodian PR Sreejesh made a brilliant save to keep the hosts at bay.
Dilpreet Singh then earned India a penalty corner in the 28th minute and Harmanpreet made no mistake to hand his team a 2-0 lead with a powerful strike.
Source/ Courtesy: The Tribune