India held to a 2-2 draw by Argentina

India held to a 2-2 draw by Argentina in the 7th Junior World Cup Hockey championships today in Hobart.

updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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Unbeaten in the first round with three straight victories, India were held to a 2-2 draw by a strong Argentina in a Pool F second-round match of the 7th Junior World Cup Hockey championships here today. South American champions Argentina played a hidden ace in Juan Gilardi who shot in two penalty corner goals as India rallied to equalize. For India, who finished runners-up in the last edition of the championships, the scorers were Deepak Thakur and Bipin Fernandez. India will have to win the remaining two matches if they are to make it to the semi-finals of the tournament. There was a major upset in Pool F when hosts and reigning world champions Australia were beaten 2-4 by The Netherlands. In Pool E, England strengthened their chances of qualifying for a semi-final place with a 5-2 victory over South Korea, while Germany beat Spain 2-1. Coach Rajinder Singh was disappointed that India ended up with a draw. "But if look at the match and then see that Argentina took the lead with seven minutes remaining, then I have to be happy with our equalizer that came with only five minutes on the clock," he said. However, Rajinder Singh's worst fears that India will have to take their chances and score if they need to win came true. India entered the Argentina circle in the first half, 12 times to the South American's eight and as a result India had eight shots at goal for which they had only one goal to show in the first half. India started off with a green card being shown to defender Bikramjit Singh and then had their first look at the goal when Jugraj Singh let fly a flick over goal. Bimal Lakra, who had a good match today, also had a chance but his shot hit the side board of the goal. Prabhjot had a clear look too but his reverse-stick flew high. In the 11th minute, India had another penalty corner but again the flick was too high. Argentina then took control of the midfield and started dispatching balls upfront. In one of their breakaway moves in the 24th minute, India stick-checked in the circle and Argentina earned their first penalty corner. Juan Gilardi's flick had enough power to beat Devesh Chauhan in goal and strike the back-board of the goal. Five minutes later, India earned the equalizer when Deepak Thakur picked up the ball from outside the striking circle, dribbled in and beat the goalkeeper with a well-placed shot to the right. Indian skipper Gagan Ajit Singh was shown a yellow card for hacking Riccardi who was about to start off on a run. At the break, India and Argentina were tied at 1-1. After resumption, India had a brilliant opening when Bipin Fernandez passed to Gagan Ajit Singh, who was alone in the circle with just the goalkeeper in front. But the Indian skipper completely mistrapped. Three minutes later, Rodrigo Villa's free hit was deflected off Ramiro Garcia but the Indian goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan effected a brilliant save. India had a penalty corner in the 45th minute but without success. In the 61st minute, India almost went ahead when Arjun Halappa taking a reverse shot from the top of the circle but the Argentinian goalkeeper Joquim Berthold made a super save, deflecting the shot away with his stick. Argentina finally took the lead in the 63rd minute when Gilardi got his second goal of the match with a penalty corner flick to the left corner of the net. The Indian goalkeeper was beaten for the second time in the match by Gilardi. With only seven minutes to go, Argentina players already looked in celebration mood but that was to prove short-lived. In the 64th minute, India had two consecutive penalty corners but both were again wasted. A minute later, India earned yet another penalty corner. Jugrajs' flick rebounded off the goalkeeper and was picked up by a lurking Bipin Fernandez who ran around the goalkeeper to shoot in smartly for the equalizer. India next plays hosts Australia tomorrow. Coach Rajinder Singh insisted India will have to look for more goals. "Our winning doesn't come from the mistakes that others make. We have to score. If we had scored against Argentina, we wouldn't have gone home with a draw. Similar will be the case against Australia, we need to score and win". In the other matches of the day, for positions 9-16, France beat Ireland 1-0, South Africa beat Chile 3-2, Malaysia drew with Scotland 1-1 and Canada beat New Zealand 2-1. (PTI) Also Read: