India pip Spain 5-4 in a stunning comeback in FIH Pro League

Harpal Singh Bedi

Bhubaneswar: Trailing 1-4 India staged a stunning comeback  to  pip Spain 5-4 in the in the FIH Pro League at Kalinga Stadium here.

In a edge of the seat encounter, Spain who took the lead in the 14th minute when Pau Cunill scored his first goal in the . League. Prior to this goal there was a bit of drama  when drag flicker Harmanpreet  converted a penalty corner however a review saw that goal overturned

However a minute later a clever move in the circle by Lalit earned India earned another penalty corner  Harmanpreet put it  way past goalkeeper  Mario Garin  to make it 1-1

The second quarter saw Spain playing a fast and furious  hockey spearheaded by  captain Marc Miralles. It was Miralles who  two goals in quick succession , with a penalty corner and a penalty stroke in the 20th and 23rd minute  to make it 3-1.  

While the two goal  lead  boosted Spanish team’s levels of confidence, it also created confusion and  frustration amongst the home  players.

At half-time, both Head Coaches gave their reactions. 

The second half burst into life as Marc Miralles  completed  his hat trick with a beautifully taken reverse stick shot following a penalty corner rebound. At first, the goal was disallowed as it appeared to be outside the circle, but the decision was reversed and Spain took a 4-1 lead.

Suddenly there was a dramatic turn in the game as  India regrouped themselves and with the small group of spectators roaring them on, the home side were on the come-back trail.

in the 41st minute Lakra Shilanand scored following a  dribbling  through the left-side and just two minutes later Shamsher Singh  converted a penalty corner after Lalit Upadhyay  was fouled  in the circle. (4-3)

The teams faced a final 15 minutes, with Spain holding a nervy but meaningful one goal advantage. A save off the line by the Spanish defence followed seconds later by a full-length stretch save  by goalkeeper Mario Garin,

However, with four minutes left, Spain gifted India a penalty corner with a slip at the top of the circle and Kumar Vuran – on his 100th appearance for the senior team – was able to draw his team level with a fantastic turn and shot. 

There was one more twist to this tale as India won a penalty stroke with five seconds left on the clock. Harmanpreet made no mistake and, as Spain shook their heads in disbelief, the neutrals and India supporters watching this match will have enjoyed a great, dramatic, sporting spectacle. 

Player of the Match: Jaskaran Singh said: ‘We were losing in the first half but in the second half we made our chances, took them and won the match.’

Spain’s captain Marc Miralles said: ‘It is tough for us because it is the same thing that happened against England, we lost in the final minutes. But, we played well and if we play like this tomorrow, we will be in a position to win.’

HSB

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