The Indian women’s hockey team’s wait for its first win in the ongoing Argentina tour continued after suffering a 3-2 defeat against Argentina B in Buenos Aires on Sunday.
India have, so far, secured two draws against the Argentina junior team but slumped to narrow defeats in both their clashes against the Argentina B team.
“In the third and fourth matches, Argentina played with an experienced side that had recently won against Australia 'A' and this was a perfect platform for our players to adapt to their level,” India chief coach Sjoerd Marijne pointed out.
In the latest match, the Indian girls started with purpose. The team squandered an early opportunity to go ahead after failing to convert a penalty stroke but made amends soon after as young forward Salima Tete gave India the lead in the sixth minute.
“We had a very good start to the match and though we couldn't score off the penalty stroke, we were able to convert after a good interception. In the first quarter, we were in control and kept a check on Argentina,” coach Marijne said.
However, the tables turned in the second quarter and Argentina B seized control of the game.
Sol Pagela equalised in the 25th minute before Constanza Cerundolo and Agustina Gorzelany scored in the 38th and 39th minutes, respectively, to put the hosts firmly in the driver’s seat.
“I believe these two goals could have been stopped. We had restricted their circle entries to just five in the third quarter but allowed them to convert twice in those five attempts,” Marijne opined.
Gurjit Kaur did pull a goal back for India in the 42nd minute but that was not enough.
“I feel we were a bit too rushed in our pursuit to convert. We must do much better to win from Argentina in the following matches,” stated Marijne.
The Indian team is getting back into competitive mode after almost a year-long COVID-enforced hiatus, and the four matches so far have been a good platform for Rani Rampal and Co. to ease themselves back in.
However, the Indian women will need to up their game in the remaining four matches of the tour, which will be against the Argentina senior women’s team.
“In the upcoming four matches, we will field our best side to see what we can create against the world No. 2 team. There have been good learnings from these four matches, and I want to see how our main team performs against them,” Marijne said.
India’s first match against the Argentina senior team is on January 27.
_Lead photo: Hockey India