Harmanpreet scores brace as India thrashes Spain 6-1

Harmanpreet Singh scored twice from penalty corners as Indian men's hockey team routed Spain 6-1 at Antwerp on Saturday.

Harmanpreet Singh (third from left) scored from two penalty corners in India's 4-1 victory over Spain.   -  Hockey Indian Twitter

Dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh scored a brace as Indian men's hockey team routed European runner-up Spain 6-1 in Test match on Saturday in Antwerp. Skipper Manpreet Singh opened the scoring for the Men in Blue in the 24th minute while goals from Nilakanta Sharma, Mandeep Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh sealed India's biggest win against Spain.

Unlike Thursday's match, where it was against an experimental Belgium side, India dominated the possession against a strong Spanish lineup in the opening exchanges. However, Spain won the first penalty corner and goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh did well to keep the deadlock intact at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, India went on the offensive and drew a save from Spanish custodian Quico Cortez and in the 24th minute, skipper Manpreet Singh opened the scoring with a field goal. Dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh doubled India's lead in the 28th minute from a penalty corner, but Pau Quemada reduced Spain's deficit to 1-2 in the 29th minute with a goal from open play.

India opened the flood gates in the second half as it made multiple circle entries after the break. In the 32nd minute, Harmanpreet sounded the boards with his dragflick to restore India's two-goal cushion.

Midfielder Nilakanta Sharma then made it 4-1 in the 39th minute from open play as the Red Sticks looked shaken by the sudden onslaught from the Indians. Graham Reid's men did not drop the tempo in the fourth quarter as Mandeep Singh added another in the 56th minute.

Rupinder Pal Singh rounded off a near-perfect second half for India as he added a sixth goal with a dragflick in the 60th minute.

India will face Spain in the second Test match on Sunday, beginning at 5.30 pm IST.