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Thakur’s brace powers India to victory

Deepak Thakur’s brace scripted India’s 2-1 win against Argentina in the first Test of the four-match series at the Panam National Stadium.

india Updated: Jan 20, 2009 12:37 IST

Deepak Thakur’s brace scripted India’s 2-1 win against Argentina in the first Test of the four-match series at the Panam National Stadium on Monday.

The striker sounded the boards in the 18th and 41st minutes, while Matias Paredes reduced the margin for Argentina in the 65th minute with a penalty-corner deflection.

It was, however, the hosts who looked more attacking as they forced their first penalty-corner as early as in the fourth minute but goalkeeper Baljit Singh foiled Juan Ignacio Gilardi’s drag-flick.

India soon settled down with controlled midfield play from V.S. Vinaya and Gurbaj Singh constantly setting up forwards Rajpal Singh, Tushar Khandker and Prabhjot Singh.

India could have taken the lead in the seventh minute when Rajpal sent a sizzling cross to Thakur, whose deflection was well taken by Argentina goalkeeper Juan Manuel Vivaldi, and off the rebound, Thakur shot wide.

Argentina attempted numerous forays with rapid interchanges and overheads but were superbly checked by Dilip Tirkey.

India took the lead when Rajpal intercepted in the centre to set up Khandker. The Jhansi boy then pushed to the overlapping Prabhjot who dodged past two Argentine defenders, releasing to Thakur who did not make any mistake.

Argentina soon had a couple of chances to restore parity but failed.

Baljit foiled Pedro Ibarra’s flicks.

India nearly scored another goal in the 28th minute after the forwards combined to open Argentina’s defence seams but custodian Vivaldi checked Thakur’s deflection.

India found the mark again in the 41st minute after Sandeep Singh sent an accurate slapshot into the Argentine circle where it was not controlled by Facundo Callioni.

The ever-ready Deepak Thakur seized the opportunity and pushed it past bewildered Vivaldi.

Thakur again led a sortie, which resulted in another penalty corner for India, The well-executed flick by Sandeep was saved on the line by Matias Vila to India's disappointment.

India conceded two more soft penalty corners as Sandeep Singh was found wanting in his defensive tackles. Argentina, however, could not capitalise as Baljit again stood out.

Argentina reduced the margin when Paredes converted a penalty-corner to make it 2-1.