|December 13th, 2009|
|19||Final 3-4||2:00pm||ARG - IND||2 - 3 (2 - 1)||Final|
3rd-4th – Argentina v. India: 3-2 (half-time: 2-1)
Statistics between the two teams before this bronze medal match (compiled by B.G.Joshi, Bhopal, India):
Matches played: 41 - India won 24, Argentina won 14 - 3 draws
Goals for India : 104 - Goals for Argentina: 70.
Biggest Wins for India: 9-1in 1948 Olympics in London
Biggest Wins for Argentina: 5-1 in 2008 Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh
Last played: 2009 Test Series in Mar del Plata, last test won by Argentina 4-2.
The Bronze Medal game started with a long observation round between the two teams, neither giving away an inch in defense. Argentina had most of the ball control and were rewarded by a series of penalty-corner in the 20th minute, well defended by Sreejesh PARATTU in the Indian goal. On the second one, Pedro IBARRA collected the rebound but sent his shot in the clouds. Finally, Facundo CALLIONI opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a shot from a difficult angle, much to the loud satisfaction of the local crowd.
India tried to shift play into the Argentinean half, however CALLIONI hit again the target a few minutes later with a spectacular diving deflection. The end of period saw an intense Indian domination, but they could not get close enough to generate a decent chance, until the final second of play when they earned a penalty-corner. Vokkaliga RAGHUNATH converted it, reducing their deficit going into the break and possibly giving the momentum back to his team for the second period.
They did maintain their pressure for the first ten minutes of second half but could not shake the steady Argentinean defense of Pedro IBARRA, Fernando ZYLBERBERG and Ignacio BERGNER, well backed by Juan Tomas ESPINOSA in goal. Then Argentina progressively started to push forward again and created some good chances, including a spectacular reverse shot by Tomas ARGENTO that had the crowd on their feet. Nevertheless, India managed to tie the score by Gurbaj SINGH in the 54th minute after some excellent work along the backline by Tushar KHANDKER.
Having come back from two goals down, the Indians were on a roll and monopolized the ball for long sequence of skillful plays. Shivendra SINGH had a good chance after collecting a long pass behind the defense, but it is finally on a penalty-corner by Dhananjay MAHADIK than they took the lead for the first time of the game in the… 69th minute. Argentina had a last chance on a penalty-corner, but Pedro IBARRA was not in a good day and India collected the Bronze Medal of this Champions Challenge, much higher than their entry ranking in this competition (6th).