FIH Pro League: Indian women's team loses 3-4 against Spain

Indian women's hockey team conceded a late goal to lose 3-4 against Spain for its first defeat in the FIH Pro League on Sunday.

Spanish team celebrates after scoring the winning goal against India in the FIH Hockey Pro League match at the Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.   -  BISWARANJAN ROUT/THE HINDU

Indian women's hockey team conceded a late goal to lose 3-4 against Spain for its first defeat in the FIH Pro League on Sunday.

World No. 9 India had earlier defeated Spain, ranked sixth in the world, 2-1 in the first match of the two-legged tie on Saturday.

Xantal Gine scored the winner for Spain with just 35 seconds remaining in the match after Begona Garcia (4th, 24th minutes) struck a brace. Maialen Garcia (15th) also registered her name in the scoresheet from a penalty corner.

India's goals were scored by debutant Sangita Kumari (10th minute), Salima Tete (22nd) and Namita Toppo (49th).

While it was India's first defeat in four matches, Spain registered its first win in the FIH Pro League.

India had defeated China 7-1 and 2-1 in its opening two matches in Muscat, Oman earlier this month.

The Spanish team stunned India as early as in the fourth minute when Garcia got a superb touch into a ball that was going wide.

India drew parity six minutes later through a brilliant solo goal by debutant Sangita Kumari, single-handedly dribbling past Spanish defenders to slot the ball into the back of the net.

Spain soon secured two back-to-back penalty corners but both the chances were defended brilliantly by the Indians.

Spain restored its lead just at the stroke of the first quarter through Maialen Garcia, who superbly deflected home from a penalty corner.

India continued to put pressure on the Spanish defence in the second quarter and made numerous raids into the rival 'D' but failed in final execution as the visitors defended in numbers.

READ: FIH Pro League: India women beat Spain 2-1 to continue winning run

India drew level in the 22nd minute through Salima Tete, who picked up the ball at right flank near the mid-way mark, dribbled all the way through the centre in an angle and finished with aplomb.

India's joy lasted just two minutes as Spain restored its lead soon through Belen Iglesias, who scored a superb field goal.

The enthralling first half ended with Spain in 3-2 lead.

The contest continued in the same pace after the change of ends with both India and Spain attacking each other's defence with fast counter-attacks.

In the third quarter, Spain got a great chance to extend its lead when it was awarded a penalty stroke for a foul by Tete after a penalty corner for the visitors. India skipper Savita, however, made a valiant save with her left foot to deny Sara Barrios.

Savita made another save from a one-on-one situation before India got a penalty corner but Monika's shot was saved by Spanish second goalkeeper Melanie Garcia as the third quarter ended with the hosts trailing 2-3.

Toppo scored in the 49th minute with a brilliant finish to draw level once again.

Thereafter, it was end-to-end fight as both the teams were in no mood to give in an inch to each other.

Two minutes from the hooter, Spain secured a penalty corner which was defended stoutly by the Indians.

But the Spanish continued on the offensive and secured another penalty corner just 35 seconds from the final hooter and Xantal was bang on target with a grounded shot past Savita to seal the issue for her side.

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