The Indian women’s hockey team ended their Spain Tour on a bright note as they defeated the hosts 4-1 in the fifth and final match here at the Consejo Superior de Deportes Hockey Stadium last evening.
India dominated the match in terms of possession and chances created, and were efficient enough as Rani (33′, 37′) scored a brace to give her team a two-goal cushion.
Indian skipper was backed by two well-converted penalty corners by defender Gurjit Kaur (44′, 50′) towards the closing stages of the match. Spain’s Lola Riera (58′) scored the consolation goal for the hosts.
The visitors maintained the upper-hand in the tie from the start as they dominated possession and put the hosts under pressure in the opening few minutes.
The second minute saw Indian forward Vandana Katariya get a sight on the Spanish goal but the 26-year-old’s effort was saved by Spain’s goalkeeper Maria Ruiz. India’s swift start saw them win two consecutive penalty corners in the first five minutes, but Ruiz was called into action again, and she was upto the task.
The second quarter saw a similar story as India maintained pressure on the hosts and did not give away possession easily. The world number 10 team showed quality in the midfield and had an attempt by young forward Lalremsiami saved by Maria Ruiz.
Spain could not manage to get a grip on the match but did well to deny any clear goal-scoring opportunities to their visitors.
It was the third quarter which saw India utilise their possession to good effect as Rani was found in the striking circle with an accurate pass by midfielder Namita Toppo and India’s captain stroked home a delightful finish to give her team the lead in the 33rd minute.
Four minutes later, India’s ace striker Rani was again presented with an opportunity to score at the end of a team-move, and the 23-year-old found the back of the net to increase India’s lead to two goals. Gurjit Kaur also registered her name on the score-sheet as she converted a penalty corner in the 44th minute to make the scores 3-0 in India’s favour.
India dominated in the last quarter as well, winning two penalty corners in the opening five minutes. The first was saved by a Spanish defender and the second was stroked into the back of the net by Gurjit Kaur as she scored her second goal of the match.
At 4-0, India looked comfortable in possession and made sure that they were not allowing the hosts to find space inside their half. However, in the 58th minute, the world number 11 team hit India on the counter and won themselves a penalty corner, which was converted by Lola Riera, as the match ended 4-1 in India’s favour.