Women’s Hockey: India thrashes Spain, levels series

Rani Rampal and Gurjit Kaur starred in India’s 4-1 win over Spain as the teams finished the five-match series 2-2.

File Photo: Gurjit Kaur chipped in with two goals.   -  Getty Images

Captain Rani Rampal and defender Gurjit Kaur scored a brace each to help India defeat Spain 4-1 in the final match of the five-match series in Madrid. The series ended 2-2 with this win.

India dominated the match in terms of possession and chances created. Rani provided the side a two-goal cushion before Gurjit sealed the contest towards the closing stages of the contest with two well-converted penalty corners. Spain’s Lola Riera scored the consolation goal for the host.

India began aggressively. In the second minute, forward Vandana Katariya sighted the Spanish goal but her effort was saved by goalkeeper Maria Ruiz. India gained two penalty corners in the first five minutes; Ruiz was called into action again, and she was up to the task.

Dominance

India maintained the pressure in the second quarter and did not give away possession easily. It showed quality in the midfield and attempted a goal through young forward Lalremsiami but her effort was thwarted by Ruiz.

Spain could not manage to get a grip on the contest but did well to deny any clear goal-scoring opportunity to its opponent.

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In the third quarter (33rd minute), India utilised its possession to good effect as Rani was found in the striking circle with an accurate pass from midfielder Namita Toppo. The captain stroked home a delightful finish to give her team the lead in the 33rd minute. Four minutes later, 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 double India’s lead.

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Gurjit also joined the party; she converted a penalty corner in the 44th minute to have India lead 3-0.

Lola Riera chips in again

India dominated 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 converted into yet another goal. Gurjit Kaur helped deposit it to the back of the net, scoring her second goal of the match.

At 4-0, India looked comfortable in possession and made sure it wasn’t allowing the host to find space inside its half. However, in the 58th minute, Spain hit India on the counterattack and won a penalty corner. It was converted by Lola Riera (58’), who continued her good form in the series.

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