The Indian women’s hockey team were given a good hiding by Argentina in their final game of the group stage of Rio Olympics 2016 as they succumbed to a 5-0 defeat against the 2nd ranked team in the world. The result brought an end to the Indian Eves’ campaign at the Games, having endured four losses and managed to draw a solitary match in their five games of the group stage.
Neil Hawgood’s side started the game brightly and restricted their Argentine counterparts to 0-0 at the end of the first quarter. However, Gabriel Minadeo’s team broke the deadlock immediately after the start of the second half from a penalty corner. Indian shot-stopper Savita saved the corner, but Martina Cavallero was at hand to bundle home the rebound.
The World No 2 side only needed a sniff at the goal before the floodgates opened as Argentina bundled home their second of the game in the 23rd minute from another penalty corner through Maria Granatto. It was not long before Minadeo’s side found another breakthrough to score their third goal in the 26th minute when skipper Carla Rebecchi rippled the back of the net from yet another penalty corner.
Argentina then added another to their tally within a minute of the third goal as Agustina Albertario got her name on the scoresheet after a lightning fast counter-attack from her side. Before the end of the second quarter, Argentina hit the final nail in the coffin as Cavallero, who was standing unmarked at the far post, notched her second goal of the game to make the scoreline 5-0.
The Indian Eves went into the half-time with a five-goal deficit and any hopes of making it to the knockouts fading rapidly. Argentina continued to dominate the game in the third quarter but failed to trouble the scoring. India, on the other hand, won their first penalty corner of the game in the 40th minute but substitute Argentine goalkeeper Maria Mutio was equal to it.
Hawgood’s side almost scored in the dying stages of the third quarter after a lapse in the defending of the South American’s handed India with a golden opportunity as Anuradha Thokchom dived to tap in. However, after video referral, it was confirmed that the ball didn’t cross the line.
Quarter 4 started with Argentina winning a penalty corner, but India successfully referred against the decision. India then, for the first time in the game, looked threatening in the 50th minute when they were awarded two back-to-back penalty corners. However, Minadeo’s side were able to successfully overturn the second penalty corner after referral. Argentina went close to scoring their sixth on a couple of occasions, but India held on to restrict the damage after a frantic second quarter, which saw them concede five goals.
The result brought an end to what was a dismal campaign for the young Indian Eves side at Rio Olympics and should be seen as a learning curve in their quest for becoming one of the best sides in the world.Published 13 Aug 2016, 19:09 IST