Indian hockey eves defeat Spain 3-2 in third match

Madrid: The Indian women’s hockey team registered their first win of the Spain Tour as they edged past the hosts 3-2 in their third game of the five-match series here at the Consejo Superior de Deportes Hockey Stadium last evening.

The match saw Spain take an early lead through Maria Lopez in the third minute but the visitors fought back as they scored twice in four minutes to take a 2-1 lead.

However, Lola Riera continued her fine goal-scoring form for the hosts, equalising in the 58th minute through a well-taken penalty corner and it looked like the two teams will play out their second consecutive draw.

But it was Indian captain Rani, who popped up in the 59th minute to score a wonderful field goal and give her side a well deserved 3-2 win.

World number 11 Spain started the match well as they were awarded two back-to-back penalty corners in the opening few minutes, the second of which was converted by Maria Lopez in the third minute.

The hosts continued to test the Indian defence in the first quarter as goalkeeper Savita was called into action when she had to make a reflex save to deny the opposition from extending their lead.

The Indian team started to get into the game in the second quarter as both teams battled for possession in midfield for the majority of the period. The visitors made sure that they defended their lines well, keeping out Spain’s third penalty corner of the match in the 19th minute.

World number 10 India built some attacks towards the closing stages of the quarter and saw Spanish goalkeeper Melanie Garcia making a fine save in the 25th minute.

Another attack by the visitors saw Spain concede a penalty corner which was converted by Gurjit Kaur in the 28th minute, meaning that the teams went into the half-time break level at 1-1.

Building on their momentum, the Indians produced a great team-move to score a well constructed field goal which was turned into the back of the net by young striker Lalremsiami in the 32nd

Forward Vandana Katariya was also presented with an open chance in the 42nd minute but could not score in her 200th international cap.

A tense final few moments in the match saw the hosts put the Indian defence under constant pressure, winning two penalty corners, the first of which was saved by goalkeeper Savita. However,
Spain’s Lola Riera remained calm under pressure and converted the second penalty cor to equalise the scores at 2-2 after 58 minutes.

But Spain’s celebration did not last long as India’s captain Rani scored the winner for her team which came in the form of a field-goal in the 59th minute, giving India a well-deserved 3-2 win.

The two teams will go head-to-head again for the fourth of their five matches on Saturday. (ANI)