Ipoh (Malaysia): Five-time champions India`s title hopes came a cropper after they suffered a 2-3 defeat against Argentina in a crucial match of the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Wednesday.
India suffered from their inability to capitalise on openings and also feeble defense to allow Argentina to call the shots.
Two field goals by Matias Paredes (37th minute) and Santiago Montelli (38th) soon after the half-time gave Argentina the advantage and then Gonzalo Peillat (58th) converted a penalty corner to ensure a victory for the Pan American champions.
The Indians fought hard and reduced the margin twice through goals from Sardar Singh (48th minute) and V R Raghunath (61st minute), but an equaliser eluded them inspite of repeated attacks into the rival citadel.
India have now lost three of their five matches, logging just six points ahead of tomorrow`s last league outing against Pakistan.
Argentina have boosted their tally to nine points with three successive wins after starting with two losses.
The first session was mostly confined to the midfield with both teams often losing possession on top of the rival circle. India created two openings from the left flank, but were unable to capitalise on them.
India`s first penalty corner in the sixth minute was also wasted as Sandeep Singh`s rising flick was deflected out by a defender.