The Indian Junior Men’s Hockey Team went down 4-1 to Spain in its second match of the ongoing FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Malaysia 2023 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
Rohit (33’) scored the only goal for India. For Spain, Pol Cabre Verdiell (1’, 41’) and Andreas Rafi (18’, 60’) were the goal scorers.
In the first quarter, Spain started the game with a dominating presence, putting India on the back foot and entering its territory swiftly. Despite India’s attempts to ease this pressure with counter-attacks, Spain maintained its momentum and scored early through Pol Cabre Verdiell’s field goal (1’).
Spain was cautious in its pursuit, as it worked a disciplined structure with short, accurate passes that allowed them to create space in the circle. But an Indian goal remained elusive in the first quarter. At the end of the first half, Spain was leading India by 2-0.
India started the second quarter on a high note. However, Spain took advantage of the opportunity and scored their second goal through Captain Andreas Rafi (18’), after successfully converting a penalty corner. This 2-0 lead put Spain in a formidable position, giving them the cushion to work different combinations that would fetch results in the circle.
With India desperately trying to find ways to bounce back, the third quarter was entertaining with both teams displaying quick-fire hockey with both teams stepping up the ante in attack.
India secured a penalty corner in the first minute of the quarter but failed to convert it as Rohit’s shot was blocked well. However, with India putting constant pressure on Spain’s defenders, it was awarded with another PC. This time Rohit (33’) found the back of the net. With four minutes remaining, Spain extended their lead as Pol Cabre Verdiell (41’) successfully converted a penalty corner.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, India started showcasing urgency. Uttam received a sensational pass inside the circle to score the goal, but the Spain goalkeeper managed to stop him. Late in the final quarter, Spain earned a penalty stroke, putting pressure on the Indian defence. Captain Andreas Rafi (60’) scored his second goal. The match ended with Spain winning 4-1.
India will take on Canada in its third match of the tournament on Saturday, 9th December at 1530hrs IST.
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