India goes down 2-3 to Spain in FIH Pro League
Bhubaneswar, October 30, 2022
India went down fighting 2-3 to Spain in its second match of the FIH Pro League at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium here on Sunday.
This was the second successive win for Spain, having beaten New Zealand last evening. India suffered their first defeat in two outings.
The hosts had staged a come-from-behind win against New Zealand in the opener on Friday.
Eduard de Ignacio-Simo (16’) and Marc Miralles (26’) gave Spain a 2-0 lead but India equalized through captain Harmanpreet Singh (26’) and Abhishek (54’). Marc Reyne (56’) scored a late winner for the Europeans.
India made a strong start but Spain slowly took control of the match and looked a dangerous side, always looking for the goal a the first quarter progressed. The hosts, who finished third in the last Pro League season, struggled to make any notable inroads into the compact rival defence.
In the second quarter, it was Spain, who took the lead. Goalkeeper P R Sreejesh thwarted a penalty corner from the away side but couldn’t clear the ball away from his danger zone. In the resulting melee inside the circle, de Ignacio-Simo found the space and the touch to divert the ball into the goal and gave Spain the lead in the 16th minute.
Minutes later, Jugraj Singh seemed to have brought India level after his shot rippled the Spanish net but it was ruled out as it took a deflection off a Spanish player en route.
India came under more pressure in the 26th minute after Marc Miralles’ drive from a PC proved too powerful for Sreejesh. The goalkeeper got a palm to the ball but couldn’t stop it from going in.
Down 0-2 , India sprang into action and showed more adventure and began attacking the Spanish defence. It paid off almost instantly as captain Harmanpreet Singh converted a penalty corner with a powerful drag flick. (1-2)
The hosts had a good chance to draw level just before the half-time hooter but Harmanpreet’s attempt from another penalty corner was thwarted by Spanish custodian Rafi Adrian this time around.
The third quarter saw both teams go for the all-important fourth goal of the match. Spain dominated a bulk of the possession in the quarter and created some good chances while India engineered a few decent opportunities in the final minutes. But neither side managed to score.
India went all out on attack in the final quarter and kept attacking. However, Adrian did well to deny the home side on a couple of occasions but Abhishek finally managed to beat the Spaniard with a powerful drive to draw his team level. (2-2)
The joy, however, proved short-lived as Marc Reyne put Spain back in the lead (3-2)with four minutes left on the clock.