off-colour India whipped 1-5 by Argentina

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Kuala Lumpur, May 9 (UNI) A disjointed India suffered their second successive defeat as they crashed to a humiliating 1-5 thrashing at the hands of Argentina in the 17th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup here today.

India, who were bronze medalists in the last two editions of the tournament, had lost their opening match 3-4 to Olympic qualifiers New Zealand yesterday.

Meanwhile, former captain Rehan Butt scored four goals as Pakistan chalked out their second consecutive victory in the tournament, overhauling New Zealand 6-3.

India had started on a bright note and dominated much of the early exchanges. Gurbaj Singh missed a sitter in the fifth minute as he shot wide with just the goalkeeper to beat.

Argentina grabbed the lead against the run of play in the 12th minute as Fabio Callioni tapped a pass from the right into the Indian goal.

It was a complete blunder by the Indian defence who had failed to mark Callioni inside the penalty circle.

India came close in the 21st minute when Vicram Pillay missed a golden chance.

Gurbaj Singh dribbled past a couple of defenders to pass into the penalty area. Tirkey slid forward in a desparate attempt, but failed to get a touch on the ball.

India finally managed to level the scores 10 minutes from half-time through a penalty corner.

Dragflicker Sandeep Singh fired a powerful shot which raced into the lower right corner of the goal, leaving the keeper stranded.

Argentina restored the lead six minutes later through a penalty corner goal by Pedro Ibarra to go 2-1 up into the break.

The Indians started the second half in an aggressive manner, going all out for the eqaliser.

Their efforts were, however, thwarted by the Argentine defence.

Argentina went 3-1 up in the 44th minute as Callioni scored his second of the match.

The South Americans added to their tally in the very next minute through a penalty corner.

They scored a couple more in the 71st and 75th minutes to emerge deserving winners.

UNI XC AB RKM DB2052

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