Buenos Aires, Apr 13 (PTI) India suffered their first loss of their Argnetina tour as Olympic champions beat them 1-0 in the third hockey practice match here on Tuesday.
Lucas Toscani scored the lone goal of the match in the 8th minute.
India had beaten Argentina in the FIH Hockey Pro League double-header. The visitors had won the first match in penalty shoot-out after the two teams were tied 2-2 in the regulation time. India then won the second match 3-0.
India made a positive start in the third practice match with good circle penetrations by forwards Lalit Upadhyay and Rajkumar Pal, but the Argentine defence was strong enough to hold off an early setback.
Their forwardline in the meantime set up a structured attack that earned them an early breakthrough. It was Lucas Toscani who scored in the 8th minute, ensuring a 1-0 lead for the home team.
Indian fowards Shilanand Lakra and Mandeep Singh created scoring opportunities in the following minutes but could not beat the experienced Argentine goalkeeper Juan Manuel Vivaldi.
The second quarter witnessed some brave saves by young India custodian Krishan Pathak, who completed his 50 international caps in the second FIH Hockey Pro League tie against Argentina.
He was adjudged 'Player of the match' for his exploits. He displayed the same confidence in Tuesday's game, resisting the opponents from extending the lead.
In the early minutes of the third quarter, India created a fine opportunity when defender Surender Kumar earned India their first PC of the match, but the Indian drag flickers were unable to convert the chance to equalise.
Argentina too earned a PC in the 43rd minute but India's experienced goalkeeper PR Sreejesh was up to the task to make a brilliant save.
The final quarter was a battle of nerves with India pushing for the elusive goal.
Even though young strikers Dilpreet Singh, Shilanand Lakra and Mandeep Singh took turns to attempt shots on goal, Argentina's defence led by goalkeepr Vivaldi did their best to hold on to the lead.
India will next face Argentina in the fourth practice match on Wednesday. PTI PDS PDS KHS KHS