For Olympic 2016 champions Argentina, Lucas Vila (21st minute), Matias Parades (29th) and Juan Gilardi (34th) scored as they raced to the semi-finals where they will on Friday meet India, who held off Belgium in a pulsating encounter on Wednesday. That contest will be followed by the second of the semi-finals with Hockey World League title holders Australia taking on Germany at 1930 for a place in the championship match against Argentina. Argentina's gameplan for the entire match was to try and earn penalty corners but they didn't execute that properly.
Argentina adjusted to the adverse conditions better than India.
They won the battle of attrition. The match did happen and the Olympic Champions clinched it 1-0, thanks to a wonderful penalty corner conversion by Gonzalo Peillat in the 17th minute. Peillat made the difference with a superb drag-flick to the left of Indian goalie Akash Chikte, crashing the ball into the side-netting.
For the final 10 minutes before the end of the first half, India lost captain Manpreet Singh who was given a yellow card for making a diving tackle on an Argentine player. India were not proactive and did not press the way they should have to counter Argentina in their own half.
The ongoing HWL Final is Asian champion India's biggest tournament before next year's Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast and coach Sjoerd Marijne and his men would be eager to make the most out of the opportunity with a morale-boosting result in their favour.
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The last ten minutes of the game saw repeated and aggressive attempts from India with Akashdeep and Gurjant Singh hitting the ball at the goalpost in the 51 and 52 minutes of the game.
That followed a period of sustained pressure from India as they tried hard for the equaliser, pushing Argentina deep.
Even though India had the better match statistics in terms of ball possession, shots on goal and circle penetrations, they failed to break the resolute Argentine defence. The Bhubneswar crowd had braved the rain to come to the stadium to see the match.
Due to deep depression in the Bay of Bengal the city will receive heavy rain in next 48 hours as predicted by the Met department. They slowed the pace of the game and used the aerial ball more often than their opponents.