New Delhi: Indian women`s hockey team failed to match the pace and guile of hosts Argentina and suffered a 1-3 defeat in the inaugural match of the four-nation tournament at the Parana.

The hosts build consistent pressure on the Indian post and did not let the visitors breathe freely in the first half of the match, which saw Argentina go up 2-0 with strikes from Josefina Sruoga and Delfina Merino.

Srugo gave her team an initial lead in the 11th minute of the game while Merino doubled the score in the 22nd minute on Wednesday.

Indian girls failed to get any sort of momentum as Argentina denied midfielders Kirandeep Kaur, Rittu Rani and skipper Asunta Lakra from manoeuvring any openings for the forward line of Vandana Katariya, Poonam Rani, TH Anuradha and Rani.

The visitors, however, put an improved display in the second half as strikers regularly penetrated into the top circle on the Argentinian side, but only to meet an alert Laura Del Colle in their way.

Rani eventually broke through in the 39th minute following a move coordinated by Ritu Rani and Vandana Katariya to post India`s only goal.

Their joy was though short lived as hosts struck again in the 51st minute through Rosario Luchetti to seal the match.

In another match, South Africa were held by Ireland to a 2-2 draw.

India is scheduled to play Ireland on Friday.

(Agencies)