FIH Pro League: Mandeep Singh steals the showMarch 22, 2022
Mandeep Singh scored a last-minute winner after drag-flicker Jugraj Singh’s two powerful penalty corner strikes as the Indian men’s hockey team beat Argentina 4-3 in the drama-filled second match of their FIH Pro League tie here today.
Jugraj scored in the 20th and 52nd minutes after Hardik Singh struck in the 17th minute before Mandeep deflected a long pass into the Argentina goal with just 26 seconds left in the match.
Argentina’s goal-scorers were Nicolas Della Torre (40th), Tomas Domene (51st) and Martin Ferreiro (56th).
After today’s win, India remained at second spot in the league standings with 16 points from eight matches, behind Netherlands. Argentina remained at fourth spot with 11 points from six matches.
After a barren first quarter, India upped the ante in the second and pumped in two goals in the space of three minutes. From a penalty corner, Varun Kumar’s drag-flick was saved by the Argentine goalkeeper but the ball fell to Hardik who slammed home to give India the lead.
Three minutes later, captain Amit Rohidas won another PC after he was stick-checked by an Argentina player. Jugraj stepped up to take the PC and his powerful drag-flick beat the Argentina goalkeeper all ends up. The referee awarded a penalty stroke to Argentina in the second quarter but the decision was reversed after India took a review.
Argentina pressed hard in the third quarter and were rewarded with a goal from a PC through Della Torre.
The fourth quarter yielded four goals. Domene drew parity after scoring from a penalty stroke. India replied immediately and took the lead again within one minute with Jugraj’s rocket-like drag-flick hitting the roof of the net. India thought they had scored their fourth goal and Jugraj’s third of the match from a penalty corner but the decision was reversed after an Argentina review. It was ruled that the ball had not left the circle before Jugraj took the shot. Ferreiro added salt to India’s wound by scoring a field goal. But in a dramatic finish, Mandeep deflected in a long pass from Jugraj. Mandeep had also scored in the final minute to take the match into the shootout on Saturday.
“I think the team made a good effort. We fought until the last minute. We created a lot of chances, although there are still things to improve on,” Player of the Match Varun said. — Agencies