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.’