The FIH Hockey World League Final kicked off at Raipur in Chhattisgarh on Friday. The tournament opener saw two pool ‘B’ teams, India and Argentina up against each other. The hosts looked slightly off-colour, despite having a full-strength squad and ended up losing 3-0 to their opponents. Ace drag-flicker Gonzalo Peillat starred in Argentina’s dominant victory as he scored two of these goals. Joaquin Menini added one more from another penalty corner.
First half: Peillat scores quick opener, Menini doubles lead
Argentina made their intentions clear early in the game as they ran through the Indian defensive lineup. This resulted in an early penalty corner for Los Leones and Peillat sent in a strong drag-flick from the top of the circle. The ball deflected off VR Raghunath’s right boot and went into the goal, thus leaving goalkeeper PR Sreejesh clueless.
The second goal came in the 24th minute through another penalty corner. This time Pedro Ibarra’s cross found Joaquin Menini stationed at a comfortable scoring position and the latter had no troubles in slotting home Argentina’s second. At half-time, the score read 2-0 and India had managed only one shot on target.
Second half: India show better application, Argentina take the first Hockey World League Final game:
Early in the second half, Indian forward SV Sunil suffered a minor injury while attempting a run through the Argentine defense. Minutes later, VR Raghunath hurt his leg as he rushed in to block a drag-flick and was helped off the field as a result. Both injuries did not seem worrying and hopefully both players should return to the playing XI in the next game. The Indian team did well as a unit and goalkeeper Sreejesh made some valiant saves throughout. They were able to make occasional circle penetrations but lost possession eventually, thanks to some brilliant interceptions by the Argentine defenders.
Argentina won another penalty corner in the dying seconds of the game and this time Peillat executed his drag-flick to perfection, therefore summing up Argentina’s dominant show. India next play Germany on Saturday and one can expect a better performance from the men in blue.
Match summary: FIH Hockey World League Final- Match 1
Argentina 3 (Peillat 3′ 60′, Menini 24′) beat India 0.