Harpal Singh Bedi
Bhubaneswar: Displaying tremendous grit and determination Spain took a sweet revenge of their first leg defeat as they edged out in their return match of the FIH Women Pro League at Kalinga stadium here this evening.
Spain opened the first quarter in dominating fashion and took lead in the fourth minute through Begona Garcia.
The Visitors controlled the game in such a way that Indians seemed to be overwhelmed by the pace of the Red Stick’s game.
The hosts regrouped themselves in the 10th minute when debutant Sangita Kumari showed her strength and ability to find the goal as she beat two defenders and then shot with precision to bring the scores level. (1-1)
The Garcia show continued as the quarter counted down. A clever ball into the circle by Georgina Oliva, who celebrated her 250th cap, hit Indian defender’s foot to win a penalty corner.
Following the initial shot, it was Maialen Garcia who deflected the penalty corner shot into the goal to restore the Spanish lead. (2-1)
Striker Salima Tete brought the scores level as she burst forwards into the Spain circle and unleashed a reverse stick shot that proved unstoppable. (2-2)
Just two minutes later, in the 24th minute, it turned out to be the moment of the match as “Player of the match” Belen Iglesias used tremendous skill and vision to lob the ball over Savita’s head, into the goal. (3-2)
Spain had the chance to extend their lead in the third quarter when a push on Maria Lopez in the a defensive circle led to a penalty stroke. Goalkeeper Savita, came to her team’s rescue as she saved the resulting shot from Laura Barrios.
The fourth quarter saw High tempo passing and incredible skill levels were on display from both teams. A melee in the Spanish circle saw the ball bounce loose. Namita Toppo managed to pick the ball from the air and fire it through a clustered defence to score her team’s third goal.(3-3)
Just before the final whistle Spain earned one more penalty corner and Xantal Gine to fired it home to help her team its first win of the FIH Hockey Pro League.
Speaking after the game, Belen Iglesias said: ‘I think we did a much more compete match today. We made mistakes in the defence yesterday so we focused on defence today and it worked.’
The result means India are in third position in the league table behind Argentina and Netherlands.
Spain, with a win and a draw are in fifth place, just behind Belgium