The Indian team’s chief hockey coach Graham Reid, though happy with his boys overcoming Olympic champions Argentina 4-3 in the opening practice match, was critical of the visitors allowing the home team to claw back into the game.
“We allowed Argentina to come back into the game particularly in the third quarter where they scored twice. When you play a strong team like them, we need to be consistent in all the quarters,” said Reid ahead of the second match on Wednesday.
India will play a total of six matches against Argentina — four practice and two back-to-back FIH Pro League ties on April 11 and 12 — and defender Harmanpreet Singh has termed it as the best possible for the Tokyo Olympics.
“Good win but there’s scope to be more consistent,” said Reid after the match late on Tuesday.
Drag-flickers Harmanpreet Singh (28th minute), Rupinder Pal Singh (33rd) and Varun Kumar (47th) converted the penalty corners, while Nilakanta Sharma (16th) opened the account.
“It was a good practice match, intensely fought by both teams. It is always nice to come up with a win against a team like Olympic champions Argentina as it amplifies our confidence levels,” said Reid of the Manpreet Singh-led team.
“We were able to create opportunities in the circle and also convert them. This was one of the areas we really put our minds to in the national camp back in SAI, Bengaluru.”
But had it not been for veteran goalkeeper PR Sreejesh’s efforts, especially in the first quarter, things could have become tough for India.
Argentina made a strong comeback in the third quarter, scoring two goals, through Leandro Tolini (32nd) and Maico Casella (42nd), and Reid said that tough games like these bring out the best in a player.
“Each match we play is a learning experience and I feel we have scope to do better. We look forward to good matches. These matches will help us when we take on the home team in the double header Pro League matches,” said Reid.