This is the first defeat for India on the tour.

The Indian women’s hockey team conceded a late goal which led to Argentina B team’s 2-1 victory here at Cenard, Buenos Aires. Sol Pagella (11′) and Agustina Gorzelany (57′) scored for the home team while young forward Salima Tete (54′) was the lone goal scorer for India.

In the previous matches, the visiting side had drawn 2-2 and 1-1 respectively against the Argentina junior women. 

“Today we played against a stronger Argentina squad consisting many of their senior players. This was a perfect practice match for us ahead of next week’s schedule where we play against the Senior side. Unfortunately, we conceded a PC goal minutes before the regulation time and this is what we need to manage better,” stated chief coach Sjoerd Marijne without mincing his words. 

India began on a backfoot with Argentina B playing tough, attacking hockey right from the start. Conceding two back-to-back PCs within six minutes of play and putting pressure on the visiting side but the Indian goalkeeper Rajani did well to save the goals. In the 11th minute, however, a fierce circle penetration and a well-timed strike by younger Sol Pagella put the home team ahead by 1-0. 

With a strong defence put up by the Argentinian women, PCs were hard to come by for India and circle entries were restricted too. Though the Indian team managed to earn a PC in the 23rd minute, dragflicker Gurjit Kaur’s attempt to equalise was well saved by the opposition’s goalkeeper. 

It was a battle India had to fight hard against a strong Argentinian forward line as they earned two more PCs in the 43rd and 51st minutes. But Indian PC defence held sway to ensure the lead was not further extended. In the 54th minute, when India bagged a PC, an alert Salima Tete swiftly struck the ball off a rebound into the goalpost fetching her team a much-need equaliser. 

The sturdy home team upped their ante in the following minutes with a circle penetration that resulted in a PC. This was the deciding moment as an experienced Gorzelany converted the goal in the 57th minute to seal the match. “While we are testing some of our younger players in these matches, and I am happy they are getting exposure against a strong side like Argentina, we simply cannot afford to concede late goal and it’s an area that requires work,” expressed Marijne. 

In their next match, India will take on the Argentina B Team on 24th January at 2.30 AM IST.