The Indian men's hockey team pulled off a thrilling win over Argentina in their second FIH Pro League match at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. Mandeep Singh's last-minute goal helped India emerge victorious in the second match after going down in the first match on Saturday.
The win helped India move into second spot in the FIH Pro League points table. The Netherlands are at the top, tied on points with India but with no losses to their name. Germany are third with Argentina in fourth place.
Hardik Singh (17'), Jugraj Singh (20', 52') and Mandeep Singh (60') scored the goals for the hosts on Sunday.
Jugraj and Mandeep combined to score the most amazing goal for India at the death. The goal proved to be the only difference between the two teams. Jugraj fired the ball into the circle and Mandeep touched the ball to send it into the goal and seal the win.
Speaking about the win, chief coach Graham Reid said the win will boost the confidence of the team.
"The positive that has come out of the game is the mentality of never giving up and making sure that we continue to fight until the very last minute and last second. This win is a confidence booster as even if we are down, we know that we can make a comeback. It's a nice thing to have in our armory, but I don't want to keep relying on it," Reid said after the match.
The chief coach added that the matches against Argentina have been a good learning experience for the youngsters.
"We had our chances to put the game away and finish early on, but we will learn from that. We had a couple of younger guys who were playing, so it was a good learning experience for them. It is always good to win in that situation as it helps with the character," he opined.
Indian captain happy with performance
Skipper Amit Rohidas was happy with his team's performance. The hosts lost their first match in the penalty shoot-out, with the second match almost going that way, until Mandeep changed the script.
"It was a top game, really challenging. We didn't give up till the last minute and played well. We scored some good goals, Jugraj did really well and Mandeep's last touch, in the end, was very good," Amit said.
The defender was proud to record his first victory as the captain of the team.
"This was my first win as captain and it was a proud moment for me and for the entire team as well. I would like to thank my team and coaching staff for showing faith in me and giving me this wonderful opportunity," he concluded.