Argentina beat India to lift Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Cup
IPOH, Malaysia: Forward Nicolas Mario Almada scored a golden goal in the 73rd minute to steer Argentina to a hard fought 2-1 win over India in Sunday's final to lift their first Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament title here.
The match had to be decided in sudden death after both teams failed to break the 1-1 deadlock within regulation time.
Defender Sandeep Singh gave India the lead in the 11th minute off a penalty corner and four minutes later Nicolas Mario equalised off a penalty corner.
In the preliminary rounds, Argentina had outplayed India with 12 juniors in their squad, 5-1.
But in the final, India played exceptionally well with fine and fast counter attacks but just failed to get it right where it mattered in the scoring zone.
Argentina, who qualified for the final for the first time in the tournament, went on the offensive from the first whistle.
However it was India who took the lead through Sandeep Singh off their first penalty corner in the 11th minute when he scored from a high flick, which sailed past goalkeeper Manuel Juan Vivaldi.
It was his ninth goal and confirmed him as top scorer in the tournament.
Argentina equalised four minutes later off a penalty corner through Nicolas Mario Almada and received their second penalty corner in the 33rd minute but failed to score.
A free for all almost broke out between India and Argentina after an Argentinian player was pushed on top of the D but British umpire Ged Curran issued a verbal warning to both the skippers - India's Sardar Singh and Argentina's Manuel Juan Vivaldi.
India received two penalty corners in the 42nd and 53rd minute but Sandeep failed to get it right.
Argentina also failed to convert a penalty corner which they received in the last four minutes of the match and the match had to be decided in extra-time.
Just three minutes into the extra-time Nicolas deflected the ball into the goal off a free hit by Ignacio Juan Gilardi.
"We made our debut in 2006 and finished seventh and last year we came in fifth. But this time we want to use the meet to prepare for the Champions Trophy in Holland next month but we are returning with the trophy," said Argentina coach Jose Carlos Retegui.
New Zealand came back from a goal down to edge three-time champions Pakistan 2-1 to finish in third.
Forward Rehan Butt gave Pakistan the lead in the 17th minute from close range. But the Kiwis equalised three minutes later through Simon Child off a field goal.
Gareth Brooks was the toast of New Zealand for scoring the winning goal in the 50th minute off another field attempt.
Philip Wright, meanwhile, scored a golden goal in the 83rd minute to steer Canada to a 4-3 win over Belgium to finish in fifth.
The match went into extra time after both teams failed to break the 3-3 deadlock in normal time.
Canada goals in the regulation time was scored by Connor Grimes (5th), Ravi Kahlon (12th) and Bindi Kullar (46th) minutes.
Jerome Dekeyser (3rd, 8th) scored a brace for Belgium while the other goal was scored by Max Luycx (58th) minutes.