Jaded India no match for Spain's pace
India slip to third in pool after going down 1-4 to Spain in their Junior World Cup hockey match in Kuala Lumpur
Spain thrashed India 4-1 in their group match ongoing Junior World Cup to go top of the table in Pool C, in Kuala Lumpur on Friday. Both India and Spain were coming off convincing wins in the previous encounters — India had beaten South Korea 4-2 on Tuesday while Spain blanked Canada 7-0 — but Spain, led by braces from skipper Rafi Andreas and Cabre Verdiell Pol, proved too hot to handle for India.
Spain got off the blocks early and found the opening goal in the first minute itself through an unmarked Pol who beat goalkeeper Shashikumar Honnenahalli with a lovely deflection. Rohit drew level for India in the 33rd minute through a penalty corner but a tactically superior Spain were significantly better than the Indians who appeared jaded on the pitch.
Spain were superb on the wings and played a close-knit game, allowing little room to the Indian forwards. Andreas restored the lead for Spain in the 18th minute through a PC before Pol converted another PC in the 41st minute. Andreas then put the result beyond doubt with a penalty stroke in the last minute of regulation time to unwittingly underscore his team's domination from the first minute to the last.
Spain goalkeeper Capellades Jan stood out for his pluck and anticipation, saving a handful of sure-shot strikes from Indian forwards.
India earned three penalty corners between the 55th and 57th minutes but Capellades put his body on the line to deny them success.
Overall, India had more circle penetrations (18 to Spain's 16) and penalty corners (six to Spain's seven) but Spain had more shots on goal (13 as compared to India's 10) and, eventually, goals. Spain pressed with pace and scored in each quarter while the 2016 champions were left chasing the game. India will next play Canada on Saturday while Spain will square off against South Korea. India and Korea are currently level on points but the latter occupy the second spot in Pool C owing to better goal difference. Canada, with two losses in as many outings, occupy the fourth spot.