India lose to Argentina 1-2 in Azlan Shah final
Mario Almada struck a golden goal as a spirited India suffered a narrow 1-2 defeat to Argentina in the final of the Azlan Shah hockey tournament.Updated: May 18, 2008, 20:32 IST
Mario Almada struck a golden goal as a spirited India suffered a narrow 1-2 defeat to Argentina in the final of the Azlan Shah hockey tournament in Ipoh on Sunday.
Sandeep Singh's 10th minute penalty corner conversion put India ahead in the title clash, but veteran Almada led Argentina's fightback and scored a brace (14th, 73rd) to help his side clinch the championship.
India will take the silver medal with pride as they showcased a brilliant turnaround in the tournament and won four matches in a row after two defeats to book a berth in the final after a huge gap of 12 years.
The title clash had all the components of a final match as the keenly-contested and ill-tempered encounter went down to the wire before being decided through Almada's golden goal in the extra-time.
From the beginning, both the wingers of Argentina worked overtime to give some jittery moments to the Indian defenders. But Diwakar Ram and Sandeep Singh warded off the initial inroads and goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza came out with some scintillating saves to deny their rivals any early advantage.
In the fourth minute, when umpire Ged Curran of Scotland awarded a penalty corner to Argentina after Adrian made a diving ground clearance, the enraged Indians advanced menacingly towards him. Durran talked to his colleague Amarjit Singh, but at the end preferred to stick to his decision.
Ignacio Gilardi took the shot, but Adrian saved it with his characteristic calmness.
Shivendra Singh and S V Sunil staged a counterattack in the 10th minute and when they were brought down near the circle, Amrajit signalled India's first penalty corner.