Dominant India beat Argentina 3-1 to seal QF berth

Tokyo, Jul 29 (PTI): The Indian men’s hockey team stormed into the quarterfinals of the Olympic Games with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over defending champions Argentina, scoring two goals in the final two minutes of its penultimate pool match here on Thursday.
After goal-less first two quarters, India broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute through Varun Kumar before Vivek Sagar Prasad (58th) and Harmanpreet Singh (59th) struck in the closing minutes of the match to seal the contest. It was India’s third win in Pool A at the Oi Hockey Stadium.
Argentina’s lone goal came from a penalty corner conversion by Schuth Casella in the 48th minute.
By virtue of this win, India have consolidated their position in the second spot of Pool A with three wins and one loss out of four games, behind Australia. Argentina are struggling at the fifth spot in the six-team pool and need to beat New Zealand in their final preliminary match on Friday to stay in the hunt for a quarterfinal berth. The top-four make the last-eight stage from each group. India will take on Japan in their final pool match on Friday.
The Indians were aggressive and put pressure on the Argentine defence from the very beginning, attacking in numbers.
India completely dominated the first quarter, mounting attacks after attacks but the Argentines defended stoutly to frustrate their opponents.
It was a frustrating first half as both the teams failed to secure a single penalty corner to head into the breather goal-less.
It took India 43 minutes to break the deadlock through Varun who scored from the team’s third penalty corner.
Seconds from the end of third quarter, India wasted four consecutive penalty corners as Argentina defended bravely.
It was even in the 48th minute when Casella scored Argentina’s first penalty corner. Two minutes from the hooter, Vivek restored India’s lead tapping in from a rebound after Dilpreet’s attempt was saved by Vivaldi. Then, in the nick of time Harmanpreet drew the final nail in Argentina’s coffin by converting India’s eighth penalty corner.

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