Ipoh:India paid the price for a sloppy defence to suffer an embarrassing 5-1 defeat against Argentina in the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament on Friday.
The jittery Indians, who had lost 4-3 to New Zealand in their opening match, put up a rather pathetic display to find themselves at the bottom of the points table after the first two matches.
The Argentineans relied on the brilliance of Facundo Callioni who struck three goals while Pedro Ibarra and Tomas Incento chipped in with a goal each in what turned out to a lop-sided contest.
Drag flicker Sandip Singh scored the only goal for the Indian team which comprised mostly of junior players who were found wanting against their much faster opponents.
Argentina fired the first salvo in the 12th minute of the contest when the nippy Callioni produced a brilliant back hand flick to take the Indian defenders by surprise.
The goal was the result of a fast counter attack, which saw Callioni break through the defence and find the target.
The Indians, who lacked the sting in the forward line, restored parity in the 25th minute with drag flicker Sandip Singh scoring his fourth goal in the tournament by converting a penalty corner.
The goal served as a tonic for the Indians who managed to make a number of forays into the rival box but invariably failed to get their acts together at the goalmouth.
The Argentineans shot into the lead just four minutes before the interval with Pedro Ibarra converting a penalty corner much to the delight of his teammates.
After the break, Argentina attacked with renewed vigour and slammed in two goals in quick succession to shatter India's hopes of staging a fight back.
While Callioni capped a brilliant move to score the third goal in the 43rd minute, Tomas Incento consolidated the position for his team with a gentle push two minutes later, capitalising on a defensive lapse.
A few minutes later, the Indians suffered another jolt when Callioni struck his third goal to increase the margin.
The Indians got as may as seven penalty corners but could manage to convert just one. Argentina had a better ratio as they got six and converted two.
The Indians will take on Canada in their next match after the rest day tomorrow and need to pull up their socks to keep themselves in the reckoning in the seven-nation tournament.
In the other league matches today, Pakistan prevailed over New Zealand 6-3 while Canada scraped past Belgium with a 1-0 verdict in a keenly contested tussle.